Police: Accused shoplifter uses child as shield during police pursuit
CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- A mother is facing a list of charges, accused of bringing her preschooler along on an alleged shoplifting case.
On Wednesday, security officers at the Walmart at 1407 N. Loop 336 W. held a pair of suspected shoplifters until Conroe police arrived. Officers identified the suspects as Shauna Armstrong, 22, and a 16-year old girl.
Police say Armstrong had her three-year-old child with her as she attempted to shoplift several items from the store. When she was being arrested, Armstrong reportedly asked that a relative be allowed to come pick up the child, and she wanted to get the child's carseat and other items from her vehicle.
Armstrong was allowed to walk with her child to the vehicle. Once there, Armstrong reportedly explained to the escorting officer that she had health problems for which she had scheduled upcoming surgery. The escorting officers, in an attempt to assist Armstrong with her extenuating circumstances, tried to determine if they could get a warrant for the misdemeanor arrest instead of arresting Armstrong on location.
Armstrong had placed the child in the front seat of the vehicle and was sitting down in the driver's seat. Police say she quickly slammed and locked the door, put the car in reverse and fled. Armstrong sped out of the parking lot, allegedly running stop signs and red lights as she fled.
Police say Armstrong's vehicle was seen abruptly trying to turn onto a side street, but missed and drove into a ditch. They say Armstrong then drove out of the ditch, over the railroad tracks and kept going. Officers lost her for a short while, but then found she had crashed the car at a local concrete plant.
Police say Armstrong jumped out of the car with her child in her arms and ran off on foot. She fell into a wooded ravine with the child still in her arms.
Officers attempted to apprehend Armstrong, but they say she appeared to use her child as a shield to prevent officers from arresting her. They took the child, but they say she continued to resist officers and was eventually taken into custody. At that point, police say Armstrong complained of medical issues and EMS was contacted. EMS said she was displaying medical symptoms that required she be transported to the hospital.
Armstrong was admitted to the ER for further evaluation. Officers were advised not to handcuff Armstrong to the gurney due to her medical issues, so an officer stayed with her in the ER. After some time, Armstrong reportedly complained to the officer that her condition was worsening and she needed medical personnel. When the officer went for help, Armstrong fled in an unknown direction. The hospital and surrounding area were searched and Armstrong could not be located.
Several hours after escaping, police say Armstrong was found in a vehicle in the city of Willis, just north of Conroe. Police took custody of Armstrong and transported her back to the hospital. She was eventually released.
Armstrong was then transported to Montgomery County Jail and booked on the following charges: organized retail theft, child endangerment, evading in a motor vehicle and escape.
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