Shoppers Smash Window, Free 2 Kids From Hot Car
Witnesses now say they were helping mom, who was on the scene
By Newser Editors, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2014 9:23 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2014 12:11 AM CDT
Media attention on children left in hot cars has been intense since Justin Ross Harris was charged with murder in the death of his toddler.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Media attention from the Justin Ross Harris case has placed citizens on high alert for children stuck in hot cars—and shoppers at a strip mall in Katy, Texas, are the latest to come to the rescue. The group smashed in a car window yesterday to free two young children trapped inside a Jeep as temperatures outside rose into the 90s, but contrary to KHOU's initial report, this wasn't an instance of neglect. KHOU initially spoke with Gabriel Del Valle, who shot a video on his smartphone showing at least four people trying to free the boy and girl from the car and indicated that the mother had left them there while getting a haircut. KHOU now talks to other witnesses who say the mother accidentally locked her kids in the car after finishing her shopping—with kids in tow—and pleaded with other shoppers for help.

The owner of a postal store says he has surveillance video that proves the kids were with the mom in his store and all exited together. Further, KHOU spoke with the mother, who said that her insurance company told her it would take two hours to get someone to the scene to open the doors. At that point she reportedly returned to the store asking for help, per the video; a hammer in the store was used to bust the window, and the mother then enters the car through the broken window. Del Valle refused to be interviewed a second time by KHOU. (Meanwhile, a toddler managed to save an elderly man who was stuck in his hot car.)

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Showing 3 of 139 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Jul 17, 2014 12:24 AM CDT
We have a state law that says police and fire can only provide unlock services if a child is in the car. Then there is a form for the owner to sign that indemnifies the officer is there is damage to the door mechanism. So it is not uncommon for a lady to call and say she has locked her child in the car and when the officer arrives there is not one there but now she still wants the door unlocked. But the locksmith union got the law passed that prevents the officer from doing that. Each free unlock an officer performs is $75 lost.
Evonne Todd
Jul 16, 2014 4:26 PM CDT
At least there is an awareness in the public now that was not there before
earthshoes
Jul 16, 2014 1:21 PM CDT
And THIS is why we don't jump to conclusions about stories like this and don't assume that the media has all the information. All too often they're all repeating the same piece of junk-news without bothering to confirm it. Sadly, this probably not be repeated. Remember folks: Guilt sells--Innocence doesn't.