Woman thankful for Good Samaritans who held the suspect accused of assaulting her during food delivery

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A woman attacked while working for a food delivery service is recovering after police say a man assaulted her as he tried to steal her car. Prosecutors charged Edward T. Merritt with vehicle hijacking and assault.

Ashton Smith had just parked to deliver a pizza to a customer near 12th and McGee for her second job working for a food delivery service. Before she had taken the delivery order out of her back seat. she said a man came out of nowhere.

“He grabbed me by the shirt and said, ‘You don’t understand. I need this car. You are going to give me this car,’” Smith said. “At that point, I realized the severity of the situation I was in.”

She says the man threatened to kill her and grabbed her cell phone when she told him she was going to call 911. She says he then punched her repeatedly. “He hit me in my nose and my lip. I immediately started bleeding,” Smith said. “He hit me a few more times in the back of the head and he hit me a few times on the side of the face.”

She managed to escape the assault and started running. Smith says Merritt chased after her. When she saw a woman walking her dog in the area, she shouted for the woman to call 911. “I just remember just screaming at the top of my lungs for help,” Smith said.

Witnesses told police the man then punched the woman who called 911 and knocked her to the ground. Court records state the 911 caller was diagnosed with a concussion at a local hospital. Three to four men who were nearby saw what was happening and took action.

“They just run toward the man who assaulted me and corral him and within a matter of seconds the police turned the corner on the street I was on,” Smith said.

Several witnesses told police they saw Merritt assault both women. He was arrested at the scene.

Smith says she wants to sincerely thank the woman who called 911 and the men who held the suspect. She says physically she is recovering but mentally she is struggling to cope following the attack.

According to court records, Merritt had prior convictions in Oklahoma and Missouri. Court records state he was on pretrial release for federal weapons charges at the time of the assault.