Damon Scott doesn’t like to see women disrespected. So when his then-girlfriend ran out of a store and told him a robber with a knife was threatening a store clerk, Scott did the first thing that popped into his mind.
He grabbed a baseball bat and went swinging after the robber, who stabbed him several times as Scott tried to make a citizen’s arrest. Scott gave up when one of his lungs collapsed, which made it hard for him to breathe. He didn’t realize he had lost a lot of blood. The suspect and another man drove away and were soon arrested in a traffic stop as shoppers and deputies went after the vehicle.
Scott nearly died. He was hospitalized almost three weeks for injuries including inch-deep stab wounds to his liver and lungs. He underwent several surgeries.
“For him to do this in broad daylight, it made me think he had done it before,” Scott said Wednesday. “I wanted to stop him so he wouldn’t do it again.”
Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson honored Scott on Wednesday by presenting him with the Citizens Meritorious Award. The award recognizes Scott for his bravery Dec. 15 at a Dollar General store on Canal Road.
“We don’t expect citizens to get involved in anything like this,” Peterson said, telling Scott, “every citizen of Harrison County needs to be proud of your bravery.”
“But I’m that sure your wife has told you this, and I’m going to tell you this: Don’t do it again,” Peterson told him. The sheriff’s bluntness brought laughter from his administrative staff and media representatives.
“Thank you, but next time, get a tag number, tell us this is the tag number, this is the description, and we’ve got it from there. Thank you so much for everything you did. We greatly appreciate it.”
Scott, who works at the Canal Country Store, asked his girlfriend to marry him the first night he was hospitalized. They have since married and live in Gulfport’s Orange Grove area.
Scott said he still has nightmares of the incident and he regrets pulling out his baseball bat.
“I wish I’d used my car to go after him,” Scott said. “I’m not gonna lie about it.”
I told him I was making a citizen’s arrest, but he kept swinging at me and I kept swinging back.
His girlfriend, now his wife, Marie, had gone in the store to buy an item while Scott waited in his car. Marie Scott said she became frightened when she saw a man with a knife trying to rob the store.
“He was threatening the clerk, telling her to open the register, but she told him she couldn’t open it without a PIN, and she asked her supervisor to come over.”
Marie Scott said an older customer, a man, told her to run out of the store. She did. And she told her husband what was happening.
“I told her to call 911 and I told her what to say,” he said.
But his wife said she was so upset that she couldn’t remember the phone number for 911. He dialed it for her.
Damon Scott said he got a baseball bat out of his trunk and was waiting for the robber when he came out of the store.
“He looked at me and gave me a nod like he knew me,” Scott said.
The robber ran across the street. Scott’s glasses fell off in the parking lot, but he followed the robber across the street, and that’s where the fight began.
“I told him I was making a citizen’s arrest,” Scott said, “but he kept swinging at me and I kept swinging back.”
The robber dropped the cash box on the ground.
Scott didn’t realize he had been stabbed until the robber and the man with him sped away. Shoppers who had run outside told him to lie down.
“I told them I couldn’t catch the man if I laid down,” Scott said, but he was so breathless that he had no choice.
Scott was taken to Garden Park Medical Center, where he received four units of blood and four units of plasma and was hooked up to an oxygen machine.
“They told me at first that I had a five-percent chance of survival,” Scott said.
The sheriff went to the hospital to check on Scott and his girlfriend.
“We didn’t know if he would make it or not,” Peterson said. “It got pretty rough.”
Marie Scott said she was surprised in a way by her husband’s efforts to stop the robber.
“He’s kind, a good man,” she said. “He doesn’t like to see anyone disrespect anyone, especially a woman.”