ASU student accused of assaulting elderly man at Walmart


Diogenes Gabriel Morales

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BOONE, N.C. — An Appalachian State University student was arrested after police said he jumped into a Walmart merchandise bin and then punched an elderly shopper in the face.

Diogenes Gabriel Morales, 21, faces charges after the incident was reported just before 8 p.m. Monday at 200 Watauga Village Drive.

Authorities said the suspect was arrested shortly after Boone police responded to an assault report at the business.

Boone police said they found the suspect in the Walmart’s parking lot and he refused to stop when asked. He tried running back into the store and was taken into custody, police said.

Police said the suspect was captured on surveillance video walking up to an elderly man and hitting him in the face.

The elderly man was injured, but police did not say the extent of his injuries.

Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford said he was shocked to hear an ASU student would do such a thing.

“We are currently working with university officials to address this problem and to determine the motivation behind this attack,” he said, according to a prepared statement.

The suspect was charged with simple physical assault and resisting arrest. Officials said he was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate where a $1,250 secured bond was set pending a Nov. 19 court appearance.

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