Graciela Zejudo works on the side. She said it was the scariest thing to happen since the business opened.
PHOENIX — Graciela Zejudo was at work on Saturday when it turned into what she said was the scariest thing to happen since the business opened.
A woman from a nearby business ran into Zejudo’s store covered in blood and asked for help to call 911.
“She was crying and she had a lot of blood on her face. We just started calling the police and I locked the door because I was really scared to think he was going to come in after her,” Zejudo said.
“He” is Michael Cook, 33, the suspect accused of brutally beating and robbing the woman from the phone shop where she worked near 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.
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Cook now faces $100,000 bail. The Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office said they were investigating whether he should have been released at all.
Phoenix police released surveillance video from the store showing the relentless attack. The video showed Cook entering a cricket store and instantly attacking the employee.
In the clip, Cook can be seen hitting and kicking the woman’s head repeatedly. The victim falls to the ground and screams for help for almost 60 seconds. Next, Cook walks to the back of the store, where police say he stole two phones and the victim’s phone before leaving on foot.
“We called the police because we actually saw him because he left and was walking as usual. In fact, I was crying because I was so scared, I didn’t know that he might be coming back, I just wanted to leave then,” Zejudo said.
After the horrific video surfaced on social media, Phoenix police received a call from the suspect’s sister-in-law identifying the man. The agents arrested him on Tuesday, not far from the store.
The victim and his manager said they had seen him before and worked with him, but a week before the attack the phone shop manager told police he had threatened to kill her.
Now, Maricopa County District Attorney Rachel Mitchell said she learned that Cook had already submitted a case to her office, which the previous administration declined to pursue.
“Let me be very clear, people who commit heinous and violent attacks against members of our community will be held accountable,” Mitchell said.
12 News has learned that Cook has previous violent crime convictions and police say this most recent attack may have involved drugs and mental illness. According to the police report, Cook may have heard voices when he attacked the store employee.
Police say the victim is still recovering but was relieved to learn that the suspect has been arrested.
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