“It’s alarming” | Victim warning other women after attempted robbery, assault at Hammond Aire Shopping Plaza

BATON ROUGE — A woman, who was assaulted in the parking lot at Hammond Aire Shopping Plaza during an attempted robbery, is sounding the alarm to other women about what happened.

Rachel Morgan says that on May 1, 2024, she went to Marshall’s in Hammond Aire during her lunch break. She says she spent only a few minutes in the store before leaving. Speaking to UWK, she describes how, upon returning to her car, a woman slowly approached her, asking for help in locating a business.

“She seemed nice, you know? There didn’t seem to be any kind of ill intention,” Morgan recalled. “She said, ‘Hey, excuse me. I’m trying to pick up my mom from Jackson Hewitt, but I can’t find the store anywhere.’ I said, ‘Okay, no problem at all.’ So I looked around, and within a second of turning my head, I saw Jackson Hewitt. But as soon as I went to turn around and point, she latched onto my purse and tried to rip it off from the window.”

Morgan explains that she was wearing a crossbody purse, making it difficult for the woman to snatch it.

“It was kind of like a struggle; she would pull, and I’d pull back. If she had taken it off me, I wouldn’t have cared; belongings are replaceable. But I ended up breaking free from her and lost my footing. Instead of falling backward, I fell towards the car.”

“At that point, she was able to latch onto me and had hooked my left arm inside the vehicle and started just taking off. I was latched onto the side of the car, and she was holding me inside the vehicle with her body weight, dragging me on the side of the car. At some point, she had taken a really sharp turn without slowing down, and either I had broken loose or she had let go of me right before that Shoe Station storefront. I had taken a good tumble and hit my head really hard on the concrete.”

She believes she avoided being run over because she lifted her feet when the woman accelerated. Disoriented and with no one in sight to assist, Morgan dialed 911 for help.

Morgan describes her assailant as a black female, possibly in her mid-30s, driving a charcoal grey four-door car with tinted windows, resembling a late 2000s Chevy Impala or Malibu. The woman wore a green tank top, a hot pink hair bonnet, and had a noticeable cardiac scar on her chest.

“The most terrifying thing of this all is Marshall’s does not have surveillance cameras pointed towards the parking lot. The cameras are only pointing toward the front entrances. This may have been known by the attacker and why this happened in broad daylight,” Morgan asserted.

She says that the responding Baton Rouge Police officers informed her that this particular shopping center is “notorious” for such incidents.

“I’ve actually never heard of anything like this happening because I go there every day. (The officer) actually said that that particular shopping center actually has its own police detail for security in certain times of the year, because of situations like this.”

Despite the absence of surveillance footage from Marshall’s, Morgan says that police obtained footage from Shoe Station capturing the moment she was ejected from the car. She says that while the car is visible, the suspect’s face is obscured due to the tinted windows, and the car lacked a license plate.

UWK reached out to BRPD about the incident, but the department did not provide specific information about the investigation or a possible suspect.

If you have any information that can help police with the investigation, you can call Capital Region Crime Stoppers anonymously at 225-344-STOP. You can also submit a tip online.

Victim's Voice

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