Woman saves stranger by throwing keys at armed robber, police say

By: Greg Suskin

Updated:

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Wiping tears from her eyes with tissue, a woman who was held at knifepoint in downtown Rock Hill sat in court Wednesday afternoon. She faced her alleged attacker only five hours after she feared for her life because of him.

Rock Hill police said she was in an alley off Main Street at her office door Wednesday morning when Danny Brown, 58, robbed her.

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"She had her hands full, and she was putting her key in the door, trying to go into her office, and she was approached by a male, who produced a knife," Officer Paul Myers said.

After grabbing her purse, police said Brown held the knife to the victim and walked her toward the ATM at a Wells Fargo branch to force her to get more money.

Before they got there, a woman saw them together and started asking questions.

Richard McCluskey runs a clothing shop next door. He said the witness spoke with him after it was all over.

"She (the witness) asked the woman if she was OK, and the woman said ‘No,’ and the man said, ‘Yes, she's OK,’” McCluskey said.

The witness had apparently been walking down Main Street around 8:30 a.m., when she heard a scream and stopped.

Police said once the woman realized something was wrong, she threw her car keys at Brown, allowing the victim to get free. She then called 911 as Brown ran off.

Police credited the woman for stepping in.

"She did a very brave thing," Myers said.

The witness described the attacker, who officers saw running toward City Hall, which is only a block from the police department. Some officers on foot chased Brown into City Hall and arrested him.  

On Wednesday afternoon, officers had to force Brown into the court room for his bond hearing. He told them he wasn't going into the room, because TV cameras were in there.

The victim didn't want to be identified, but she spoke up against bond for Brown.

"I would prefer there's no bond set, because I’ve been terrified and threatened that he would return tomorrow and come looking for me," she said.

During the hearing, the judge ordered Brown to turn around, look at the victim and told him, "You need to have no contact with that woman."

He then called him a threat and denied bond.

Brown has a criminal record, including past arrests for armed robbery. He told the court he was homeless, has no bank account, car or income, other than a monthly disability check.

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