Homeless man accused of punching woman outside H-E-B arrested, charged

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor, Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A 51-year-old homeless man has been arrested and charged in connection with an attack that was caught on camera at a Houston grocery store in March.

On March 8, Houston police said, 88-year-old Mary Rutkowsky was walking out of the H-E-B at 5225 Buffalo Speedway when Richard Derwin Howard punched her in the face.

Howard was arrested April 4 and he was charged with injury to an elderly individual, a felony.

READ: 'He's ruined the rest of my life': 88-year-old woman punched in face at H-E-B

"I'm glad that he's out off the streets so he can't hurt any other family," Rutkowsky said after she learned of Howard's arrest. "I hope he's gonna be there for a long time."

In 1992, Howard was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In 2011, Howard was convicted of felony assault.

Authorities said Howard has been arrested four times this year, three times for assault. On March 23, police said Howard punched a man in the face while they were on a METRO bus in Montrose. Authorities said it appeared that the attack was unprovoked.

The most recent incident was caught on H-E-B's surveillance cameras.

WATCH: Man caught on camera punching woman at H-E-B

In the video, Howard is seen lurking near some plants before the assault.

When Rutkowsky walks by him, he punches her in the face, causing her to fall to the ground.

Howard then walks in a circle, grabs his wheelchair and walks away.

When an investigator saw KPRC's report on the H-E-B incident, he immediately recognized Howard from the bus incident.

Rutkowsky had some advice for others.

"Always be prepared to watch whatever the next person is doing. Because you don't know who they are and you don't know what they are going to do. Always be on the safe side," she said.

 

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