PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. -- A Port St. Lucie man and Iraq war veteran is being hailed a hero after trying to help a woman who was robbed at knife-point in a store parking lot Tuesday night.
For his efforts, Shawn Cox ended up with a stab wound to the neck. But he and the robbery victim are thankful to be alive.
Marie Whitely was the target of the robbery and later able to thank the man who came to her rescue.
"I just wanted to come say thank you, I couldn't do it last night. I was so overwhelmed," Whitely told Cox.
Surveillance video shows Whitely loading groceries in her car in the parking lot of Walmart on St. Lucie West Boulevard.
A woman then began sneaking up behind her.
"She says, 'You know ma'am, I don't want to hurt you.' She had a knife, and she said, 'But I'm going to steal your purse,' " said Whitely.
The woman was wearing an orange shirt and is seen in the video snatching Whitely's purse. She then took off running. A man just two cars away saw what happened and tackled her but she got away.
"It went by so quick but in my head it took so long," said Whitely.
The woman stabbed Cox in the neck.
"I scratched my leg in the bush and that's what hurts more than anything, and when I stood up I was covered in
blood," Cox said.
The woman made off with Whitely's purse but not before several pictures of her were captured on the surveillance camera.
Other pictures show she has several tattoos and curly short hair.
Port St. Lucie police believe a pickup truck may have been driven by an accomplice who helped her get away.
Whitely said she fears her identity has been stolen, but her life was saved by a man who is a hero both abroad and at home.
"I really appreciate it. I really do. Not many people would have done that," said Whitely.
"I served a tour in Iraq so I guess it makes me want to help people like that," said Cox.
If you recognize the woman in the surveillance video you're asked to call police.
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