by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:
CONCORD, N.C. - On Wednesday, Eyewitness News obtained the desperate calls made to 911 minutes after police said David Simpson went on a violent rampage inside Concord Mills.
A woman calls in saying: “A man just walked by me and punched me in the face.”
The dispatcher asks if the woman knows the assailant.
“No. I was just walking. I'm walking with my baby," the woman says.
Witnesses told us the mother was hit first. Then the suspect, Simpson, walked into a jewelry store and assaulted a manager. A store associate can be heard calling 911.
“He's coming in with a bench. He's trying to assault my manager and break cabinets,” the associate said.
“And the suspect kicked in a whole glass case out of anger,” Angela Lupkas, a witness, said.
Lupkas told Channel 9 she saw the sales associate calling for help. On the 911 tape you can hear him trying to protect other people in the mall.
"Security, go that way. Everyone else, go that way,” he says. “Stay back.”
“He was definitely trying to get people to not go towards it,” Lupkas said.
Lupkas told Eyewitness News she has no idea what set the man off, and that's what investigators are trying to determine. Channel 9 looked into Simpson's record. He does have an extensive criminal history that includes arrests for drug possession, assault and carrying a concealed weapon when he wasn't allowed to have a gun at all.
Police told Channel 9 he didn't have a weapon on him Tuesday, but they are investigating whether he was under the influence. They said they took him into custody after he tried to steal a tractor-trailer in the mall's parking lot.