Ex-N.J. pastor accused of choking infant on Walmart checkout line
A 54-year-old former pastor from New Jersey was arrested Wednesday after allegedly choking an infant in a Walmart checkout line in suburban Kansas City, according to reports.
Oleh Zhownirovych is charged with aggravated battery, Overland Park, Kansas police said.
The 4-month-old girl was with her mother at 7:30 a.m. when a man walked up from behind and put his hands around the baby’s throat, police spokesman John Lacy said.
The baby’s mother, Quisha Hill, told Fox 4 in Kansas City that she didn’t know the man. Hill said the man told her he was taking the baby and tried to pull the carrier out of her shopping cart, Fox 4 reported.
The mother started screaming and people rushed to help, KMBC.com said. People in the Overland Park store then pinned the man down until police arrived. The infant was not injured, police told.
The mother said she didn’t know the man, who witnesses said looked to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the report said.
The pastor left his position at the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Cathedral in Clifton about 10 months ago, according to KMBC.com and KansasCity.com.
Zhownirovych will make his first appearance in court Thursday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.