Police: No racial slur before Walmart attack

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FRANKLIN—A witness to the Dec. 27 beating of a Southampton County couple outside Walmart claimed the assault was the suspect’s reaction to a racial slur made by the victims.


Franklin police, however, said Tuesday that nothing in their investigation points toward any kind of racial comment being made before Khalid El-Amin Muhammad allegedly attacked the unidentified man and his wife from behind with a club as they left the Franklin store.

“I’ve read nothing in the investigation and I’ve talked to no one about a racial slur being used,” Lt. Tim Whitt said Tuesday, one day after Muhammad, 41, was released from Western Tidewater Regional Jail on $2,500 bond.

Both victims were treated and released from Southampton Memorial Hospital, Whitt said. He understands the husband received stitches to his head.

“The last time I talked to them, both were back home doing OK,” Whitt said. “They were sore, and the wife is afraid because of what happened.”

Meanwhile, Muhammad is scheduled for a 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 28, preliminary hearing in General District Court in Franklin. He has retained a lawyer, according to a court spokeswoman.

The alleged assault occurred after an apparent altercation inside the store between the victims and suspect.

A day after the alleged assault, witness Mike Bryant told The Tidewater News he saw Muhammad attack the couple and understood it may have been prompted by a racial slur exchanged between the suspect and victims.

Bryant said the couple was right outside the front door when the alleged assault occurred. He heard yelling and screaming and saw a male beating a woman with a Billy Club-type bat. Bryant also saw blood coming from the male victim’s head.

Muhammad fled in his vehicle and Bryant followed him. Franklin police apprehended the suspect on Armory Drive.

Muhammad was charged with malicious wounding and assault and battery.