Peter McGuaghran, 32, stepped around the bagging area and pushed the female cashier against the counter before he began to “choke her without provocation,” the Stuart Police Department said.
Overhead security footage showed McGuaghran grabbing the cashier from behind and taking hold of her head between his hands just after 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 2.
McGuaghran’s girlfriend, 38-year-old Jennifer Budd, of Stuart, and a bystander helped pull the suspect off the woman, who was subsequently treated at a hospital for minor injuries, the TC Palm reported.
The cashier, identified as Libia Evans by WPEC-TV, recalled how she feared for her life in an interview with the West Palm Beach station.
“That moment, I believe I remember, ‘Oh God help me, God help me,’ because only God can help me,” the woman said.
Store security workers responded to the attack and held McGuaghran, authorities said. But when Stuart police arrived, McGuaghran allegedly tried to kick and head-butt officers.
Investigators said they smelled a “heavy odor” of alcohol coming from McGuaghran, the Palm reported.
McGuaghran, of Wilmington, Del., was charged with battery, resisting arrest without violence, assault on a law enforcement officer and battery on a law enforcement officer.
He was held at the Martin County Jail on an $11,500 bond.