Melvin Harris III, 40, is accused of beating a man to death after finding the individual tried to get into his daughter locked bathroom stall.
(Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)
An Arizona father decided to “make a situation his own way when he killed a man who tried to enter a bathroom stall was his daughter, police said.
Melvin Harris III faces second-degree murder charges in the beating death of Leon Leevon Armstrong, AZFamily.com reported on Tuesday. Harris was taken into custody earlier this month after the deadly encounter at a QuikTrip convenience store at Phoenix with his 16-year-old daughter.
The 40-year-old was in the parking lot waiting to pick up his daughter and two friends when Armstrong approached him asking for money. Harris gave him what to change, and Armstrong went in the store.
Harris’ daughter came out of the shop and told her father that a man tried to enter her bathroom stall by violently shaking the door, police said. She said that she told the employees who alerted the security guard.
They identified Armstrong as the alleged harasser when she saw him walk out of the store.
Maybe don’t think enough was being done, Harris approached the security guard and told him to “take care of the situation, or he would do it himself.” The guard said that the incident is handled.
The protective father, however, confronted Armstrong about the incident and then attacked him, authorities said. Witnesses told police Harris repeatedly stomped, beat and kicked the man.
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Harris fled the scene. Armstrong was taken to the hospital where he later died. He suffered swelling of the brain, a nasal fracture and loss of oxygen.
Harris was arrested in his house. He later admitted that he struck Armstrong in the face, but claims he is not throwing the first punch, the report stated. He also denied hitting Armstrong when he was on the ground.
Harris’ fiancee, Diana Jackson, told AZFamily.com that Harris was protecting his daughter.
“I’m not angry at him. I don’t feel that he did nothing wrong. I love him. He did what he had to do for our child. You can’t tell someone that they are wrong in protecting their children,” Jackson told the station. “I would have done the same. I don’t feel bad for his actions. I feel bad that the man eventually to die in the process. I do.”
Jackson said that it was unfair her fiance is being treated as a criminal for the protection of his child.
Armstrong allegedly also had a criminal past that shoplifting, trespassing, and obstructing justice.
Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter via @bykatherinelam