The screams from a child interrupted parents and children sorting through their Halloween haul on Oct. 31 at the Hunters Way Apartments on Percival Road.
For Mujahidinna Khaliq, instincts kicked in.
Khaliq sprinted across the parking lot to find a large man on top of a 10-year-old girl, one of her friends daughters. Khaliq launched an attack, punching and kicking with her Timberland boots.
I did what I had to do, Khaliq said. I beat him up.
On Thursday, Khaliq and seven other Richland County residents were honored for coming to the aid of crime victims and helping deputies catch bad guys. They received plaques, commemorative coins and high praise from the sheriff for putting themselves at risk to help others.
When you put yourself out there and put your personal safety at risk, thats going above and beyond, Lott said.
In Khalids Halloween heroics, she beat the childs attacker so thoroughly he needed to go to a hospital in an ambulance.
I let him use my phone to call and get help, Khaliq said with a shoulder shrug and a twinkle in her eye.
In another other case, Lott praised four people who came to the aid of an elderly woman Nov. 7 when a purse snatcher attacked her. And, he included two fast food restaurant workers who wrote down a license plate number that led to the arrest of a second man involved in the attack.
Scott Ellsworth, 22, and Lewis Deans, 25, noticed a car racing through the Kroger parking lot on Two Notch Road. And then they saw one of the occupants jump out and weave through parked cars toward an elderly woman.
The man grabbed the elderly womans purse, yanked hard and knocked her to the ground. Ellsworth and Deans took off after the suspect. Ellsworth, a softball player who runs a lot, caught the man and held him to the ground. Deans, who also checked on the victim, joined Ellsworth in holding down the suspect. A third man, Kirk Northcutt, helped them as they waited for police.
Meanwhile, Deanne Watts, 43, sat with the elderly woman as they waited for police and an ambulance.
I was just wishing I had been closer so I could have hit him or something, Watts said. It just made me so angry that he hit her like that.
A second suspect in the parking lot grabbed the purse and drove away.
But Shannon Ardis, 27, and Morghan Reeves, 23, who were working at an Arbys on Two Notch Road, helped deputies nab him.
Reeves, who was working the drive-thru, noticed the car pull into the parking lot and stop in a place where regular customers do not park. He told his manager, Ardis.
They watched someone rummage through a purse and toss it into a garbage dumpster. They wrote down the tag number and called police. The second suspect was caught and the elderly womans purse and all of its contents were returned, Lott said.
The final person honored, Monty Eldridge, could not attend the ceremony. He is an apartment manager and caught and detained a burglar until sheriffs deputies arrived, said Capt. Chris Cowan, a sheriffs department spokesman.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.