Things That Matter

Homeless Veteran Violently Attacks Elderly Women At Phoenix IHOP

Police released horrifying surveillance footage of two elderly women at an IHOP in Phoenix being brutally attacked by a man with a coffee pot. The suspect, Joe Ernest Meza, 47, is a veteran with mental illness and a criminal record, left to live on the streets. Meza was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with the intent to cause injury, and a count of theft and of disorderly conduct each. 

The footage is a harrowing has spawned conversations about the need to better assist veterans with mental illnesses when they return from combat.

The surveillance footage shows two women eating at an IHOP, when a man in a red shirt and sunglasses starts beating one woman’s skull with a coffee pot.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

On Sept. 29, a family with an infant and young child, and two women went to the IHOP on 51st Avenue and McDowell in Phoenix, Arizona, expecting a regular day. Prior to Meza entering the scene, it appears as if everyone is having a normal conversation on a Tuesday. Suddenly, Meza grabs the coffee pot from the table pictured above and starts violently beating two elderly women with the pot.

As the woman tries to defend herself, her friend flees for cover.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

The woman tries to cover her head, but he continues to beat her four times over the head. He stops only after she starts kicking him to create distance. CCTV footage shows her friend fleeing to the kitchen where she stands behind a cook until the ordeal is over.

Gripping her head, the victim tries to flee, but Meza continues to target her.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza appears to back away after she attempts to defend herself, but as she gets up to flee, he starts approaching her again. The restaurant is not empty and onlookers watched in shock as the attack occurred.

As the woman tries to flee, Meza picks up another coffee pot as a weapon.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Gripping her head, she starts to walk around the back of the booth and down another aisle. Meza remains focused on her, and picks up another coffee pot, intimidating her as she runs out the store. Meza remains just a few steps behind. CCTV footage shows other families fleeing out the back exit as he moves to the other side of the store.

Later, we see the victim with an apparent head wound, blood streaming down her face.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

It seems as if she’s returned to gather her personal items, and Meza is nowhere in sight. While she’s bending down, reaching for her wallet under the booth, she seems to see Meza reappear and mouths, “Oh, sh**.” Meza appears in the bottom right-hand corner and flings a podium at her. The heavy metal stand narrowly misses her, and when she gets back up, she begins fighting back.

The two begin throwing dishes and other items at each other across two rows of booths.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

She immediately tosses a plate at Meza, as he scurries to take cover behind the barrier between the rows of booths. The woman slips a little as she takes cover while continuing to fling plates in his direction.

The victim pauses at one point to wipe the blood from her head.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

She appears to be pausing to take a breath and picks up a napkin to wipe the blood from her head. Meza picks up another coffee pot and swings it at her. It ricochets off the wall behind her and the shock of it sends the elderly woman into a fall. She stands back up and throws one final object before fleeing out the back door, purse in hand.

Meza immediately goes to her booth and finds the personal item she was looking for and pockets it.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza sweeps the store, sifting through purses and stealing personal items from the terrified customers who fled before being physically attacked, including a family with an infant in a carriage. The mother picked up the baby and fled without her stroller. 

Then, he sets a fire in the kitchen.

Credit: @Robertbox1H / Twitter

Meza erratically paces the kitchen corridor, burning himself in the process. He turns the flame up on one of the burners and tosses a piece of fabric onto the flame, starting a fire. Police found him fleeing from the IHOP and arrested him in the parking lot. He remains at the Maricopa County Jail.

Watch the full video below.

READ: Here’s The Man Who Was Arrested For Attacking Another Person For Wearing A Russian MAGA Hat

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Terrifying Moment Caught On Camera When A White Woman Pulls A Gun On A Black Woman In A Parking Lot

Things That Matter

Terrifying Moment Caught On Camera When A White Woman Pulls A Gun On A Black Woman In A Parking Lot

Takelia Shanee / Facebook

A disturbing video is going viral on social media. A Black Michigan mom stared down the barrel of a gun pointed by an angry white woman in a parking lot. The video is the latest example of Black Americans being violently targeted by white people.

Takelia Hill shared a video on Facebook of a terrifying encounter in a parking lot.

Posted by Takelia Shanee on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The video starts with the image of a white woman holding a gun with fear and anger as she yells at Hill. The woman claims that Hill tried to jump behind her minivan and she was leaving the parking lot. Hill can be heard arguing with the woman refuting her claims that Hill was somehow the aggressor of the out of control and dangerous situation.

A Twitter version of the video, shared by someone identifying as a relative, has been viewed more than 11 million times on Thursday.

Hill’s daughter was recording the confrontation after the woman bumped into her.

According to The Detroit News, the argument began because the white woman bumped into Hill’s daughter and didn’t apologize. The argument escalated quickly when the Hill was almost hit with the minivan as the white couple started to drive. Hill hit the car and the white woman jumped out of the car and drew her gun.

The woman was arrested but released, according to a woman identifying as a close family member.

The police have not confirmed the information tweeted by the family member. The video is sparking outrage in the area of Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“I am deeply disturbed by an incident last night where a woman pointed a cocked gun at another woman during an argument,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “This behavior is unacceptable. I wholly expect the prosecutor to bring charges that reflect the severity of the incident.”

People in social media are angry after seeing the video and are offering advice on how the family should move forward.

One state senator is calling for action on gun reform in Michigan after the video. Fortunately, Hill and her daughter survived the encounter but the trauma of living through that is taxing.

“Michigan needs commonsense gun reform, and we need it now. People should feel safe going about their day and not have to worry about having a gun pulled on them during a conflict,” state Sen. Rosemary Baye told The Detroit News. “This incident clearly shows we have much work to do because this is not how we should be treating each other.”

READ: People Are Using Social Media to Highlight Racism On The Islands

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A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Things That Matter

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Martin Folsom / Facebook

Right now we are in the midst of so much change. There is so much going on in the world – from a global pandemic that has left millions of us in social isolation to a brand new social justice movement in the wake of murder of unarmed Black men.

We’re being bombarded with so much serious news, it’s hard to remember that there are still people out there leading powerful, incredible lives and making a difference.

One Florida teen has overcome all the odds, including years of homeless, to graduate from his high school as valedictorian and we need to celebrate and recognize this huge accomplishment.

Martin Folsom graduated at the top of his class after struggling through years of homelessness.

Since he was a child, Martin Folsom and his mother Melva have been in and out of homelessness, according to Jacksonville television station WJXT.

Despite all the challenges he faced through the years, Folsom managed to keep his focus on his studies — and his efforts paid off when he was named his class’ valedictorian and graduated from Philip Randolph Career Academy in Jacksonville, FL.

“It kind of gave me a jolt in my chest a little bit, so it was a good feeling,” Folsom said in a video interview shared by KTRK. “It means a lot and it gives me a sense of all I’ve done and all I have accomplished was worth it.”

After college – Martin plans to attend Valdosta State University – he hopes to one day work for the FBI.

Martin credits his mom’s dedication and compassion for helping him succeed.

During his time in high school, Martin’s mom recalled desperately searching for a place to live with her son.

“Martin and I were in downtown McDonald’s and literally had nowhere to go,” she shared with WJXT. “I was on the phone calling people, calling organizations, and by the grace of God, we got into a shelter that day.”

Even with an uncertain living situation, Martin didn’t let that affect his studies.

“I never thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m done with this,'” explained the teen, who served as class president from freshman year through senior year. “It’s always been, ‘Well, it happened again and I’ve gotta keep myself up and keep moving forward.'”

He was set to walk across the stage last week for graduation, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.

Still, he isn’t letting that damper his spirits — especially since Martin had to overcome hurdle after hurdle to earn the high honor. He and his mom have struggled with homelessness since he was a kid, and throughout his four years of high school. They became homeless while fleeing Melva’s ex-husband, who has since been sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder.

Within two years, the mother and son reportedly lived in different shelters across five states before setting in Jacksonville.

“It’s been a rocky road, been a lot of hardships, but seeing myself here right now, about to graduate and go to college, it feels good knowing that all the stuff I’ve done, it was worth it,” Martin said.

He served as the class president for his grade for four years straight, from 9th grade to 12th grade. Now he will go on to college in the fall — and says that will be a big day for his family.

“As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” he said.

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