A man drove through the Hinesville Kroger shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, damaging the store extensively as customers and employees scrambled to get out of the way.
Kroger employee Aaron Phillips said the man approached him before the incident and asked whether he was a Kroger employee. He confirmed that he was and then, Phillips said, the man backed up and told Phillips he needed everyone to evacuate the store.
Phillips told a cashier to call the store manager, but within moments he and others watched as the unidentified man drove his car into the first set of automatic sliding doors.
When he was unable to smash through a second set of doors, the man backed up and rammed the doors again, Phillips said. The vehicle, a Honda, careened through the entrance and down aisle eight until it reached the back of the store. The driver then put the car in reverse and backed out of the store, nearly striking Phillips who jumped out of the way to avoid being hit.
Hinesville Police Officer Mike Gosseck said that when the man drove out of the store, he attempted to flee and was detained by three citizens, who held him until police arrived and arrested him. Gosseck said about 40-50 customers and employees were in the store at the time of the incident.
Hinesville Police Department Chief of Detectives Maj. Thomas Cribbs said the suspect later was identified as Jenorris McKenzie, 27, of Hinesville. Cribbs said McKenzie allegedly visited the store earlier Wednesday, when he reportedly told a cashier he would be back later. He also reportedly left a note for another store employee earlier this month.
Cribbs said McKenzie was transported to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville and treated for minor injuries. HPD Detective James Snider said McKenzie has been charged with reckless conduct and is facing other charges.
No one was injured.