ATLANTA – When a customer twice her size declared he was “Jesus” and attacked an Atlanta-area delivery driver, she grabbed her keys to defend herself, the woman told WSB-TV.
Sonya King was dropping off food for DoorDash on Saturday when a customer in northwest Atlanta – who at first seemed normal, she said – invited her in to leave the items on a counter.
King was about to leave when the man, identified as 54-year-old Rick Painter, asked her if she wanted a $5 tip, according to WXIA.
“In the process of him going through his wallet, he said, ‘Oh and by the way I’m Jesus,'” King told WSB-TV. As she started walking for the door she said she felt Painter grab her headscarf.
“He’s grabbing me and trying to choke me with my own niqab,” she said. “I kept telling that man I’ve got kids.”
King said she managed to shove a finger into one of his eyes and use her keys as an improvised weapon, allowing her to run from the home.
When police got to the address, they found a couch blocking the door and the 6-foot-2-inch Painter completely naked with “scars, marks and bruises on his head and torso,” according to WAGA.
The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement calling for tougher charges against Painter, who faces one count of misdemeanor battery.
“We call on law enforcement authorities to pursue tougher charges against Ronald Painter, who did not simply commit battery. He’s a 6-foot-tall man who allegedly tried to strangle a 5-foot-tall woman to death with her own religious attire,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. “If Ms. King hadn’t fought back, she might not be alive today.”
Criminal records show Painter was arrested for battery and assault in separate 2013 cases.
Painter’s bond was set at $5,000; he is due back in court on May 23.