Baxley Police identify 2 suspects after restaurant assault

Baxley Police identify suspects after restaurant assault
Published: Jun. 22, 2017 at 10:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2017 at 7:36 PM EDT
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(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: Baxley Police Department)
(Source: Baxley Police Department)

BAXLEY, GA (WTOC) - Police are still struggling for words to describe the attack that took place in Baxley Thursday afternoon after a mother and her daughter were assaulted at their family-owned restaurant.

When you leave veteran lawmen speechless, you've reached a new low.

It happened just after 3 p.m. at the Qwik Chick takeout stand next to U.S. Highway 1. Owner Jeanette Norris says it started when a couple ordered two meals. They complained that their chicken was too cold and that they didn't get enough fries. The owner checked the food and after more discussion, the female suspect attacked her, slapping and punching her in the face. The owner's 15-year-old daughter then walked out of the truck, where she was punched in the face by the male suspect. It knocked her off her feet. The couple drove away as two other customers got there. Police call the assault completely unprovoked.

"I've been here, what, 41 years - 30 of them as chief. I have never seen anything like this. I've never heard of anything like this," said Chief James Godfrey, Baxley Police Department.

Plenty of WTOC viewers who saw this video contacted Baxley Police to give them information on the suspects. Based on that, police are looking for Nathaniel Eric Smith and Latasha M. Smith. They have active warrants for aggravated battery and cruelty to children. They are considered dangerous and have a tendency towards violence.


Police say both suspects left in a cream or silver-colored 2007 Cadillac Escalade with tag number REU8495. Officials say the two have access to two other vehicles described as a silver 2004 Cadillac Deville 4s with Georgia tag number PVK5483, and a green 1996 Cadillac Deville 4s with Georgia tag number BXQ1673. They are described as a heavy-set, medium-height, black male wearing a black T-Shirt, red shorts, and a red cap, and a slender-built, tall, black female wearing an all black shirt, pants, and cap. Officials say they headed north on Highway 144. The Smiths have active warrants of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

EMS was called to the scene where both the owner and daughter received medical attention for the injuries they sustained during the incident. The woman suffered a broken nose. The daughter suffered bruises and a concussion.

The victims say they get dissatisfied with customers at their business from time to time, but never anything even resembling what happened to them. Jeanette's broken nose tells only part of the story. After a few minutes of back and forth with the customers, she refunded their money.

"She went beserk. They both lost it, him and her both; started cussing and beating on the window," Jeanette Norris said.

Norris went outside to tell them police were on the way when the woman started punching and slapping her in the face. What Jeanette couldn't see as she staggered inside was her daughter getting out of the truck to help.

[RAW INTERVIEW: Hear how the victim of the Baxley restaurant assault described the incident.]

"One of my employees yelled, 'He's got her,' and that's when I realized he had hit her," Norris said. "Who does that? Who punches a child like she's a grown man standing there? He needs putting under the jail."

"The security camera footage that we put out tells it all. That's just pure brutality," said Chief Godfrey.

The chief says they've been flooded with tips from WTOC viewers who recognized the suspects - something that makes the Norris' grateful.

"You hear the old saying, 'people don't want to get involved.' They got involved," Jeanette Norris said. "Between Facebook, social media, and you guys at WTOC, it has been amazing the response we have gotten from people."

Anyone having any knowledge of the whereabouts of these suspects is asked to contact the Baxley PD at 912.367.8305, or the 911 Center at 912.367.8111 as soon as possible. Chief Godfrey is warning anyone who might come into contact with them to use caution.

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