Heroes save domestic violence victim

By Hulon O. Dunn

Editor & Publisher

Hohenwald Walmart employee was critically injured in the store just after midnight Friday, June 17, when her estranged husband reportedly assaulted her at work. Hohenwald Police Officers Nicky Bates and Chris Himes responded to the 12:13 a.m. call at the local store.

Employees told the officers, “There’s blood everywhere and there is a man going crazy in the deli area.” Officers ran to the area and saw the 22 year old victim with multiple stab wounds lying on the floor in the deli section in a pool of blood and not moving. Witnesses and employees were trying to hold pressure on her bleeding wounds.

Officers found Airick Lee Clifft, 26, of Piney Creek Road, was being restrained by employees Arvie Walker and Austin Pierce. Walker had taken his weapon, a five inch long hunting knife, from him.

Walker told officers that he heard screams while walking in the frozen section. As he turned the corner he saw Clifft standing over the victim and stabbing her several times before he could step in. As Walker pushed Clifft away from the victim, Clifft tried to cut his own neck. Walker took the knife and threw it away from them. Clifft then grabbed the victim’s box cutter and began slicing himself. Clifft reportedly told those at the scene “just let me die.” Walker was joined by Austin Pierce and Ben Brewer. Brewer wrestled the box cutter from Clifft and tossed it aside. Walker and Pierce restrained Clifft until law enforcement arrived. Brewer went to the victim to help with medical aid.

It has been said the intervention of the three men likely saved the life of Samantha Clifft.

Bates also took reports from other witnesses. Joel Pollock said he had a conversation with Clifft about work and school. After the conversation, Pollock saw Clifft bump the victim with his buggy. She asked him to stop and then they began talking quietly.  Pollock left the area.

Witness Leeta Lopez told Offficer Bates that Clifft came up to her and seemed upset around midnight. “She’s my world. I miss her so much,” said Clifft about their separation. Lopez tried to reassure him telling him to “be strong.”  A short time later she heard screaming and ran to find the victim bloody and on the floor.

After taking witness statements, Officer Bates asked Loss Prevention at the store for video of the area where the assault occurred and was advised there is no video in that area where the assault occurred. Video was available for the area where Clifft was restrained.

The victim was airlifted to Nashville where Hohenwald Police Chief Sam Livingston said she was listed in critical but stable condition around 9 a.m. Friday. Since then, new reports state her condition is improving.

Clifft was treated for his self-inflicted superficial wounds and booked into the Lewis County Jail where he remains with no bond on charges of attempted second degree murder. An initial court has been set for July 7.

In a prepared statement sent via e-mail from Walmart Corporate in Bentonville, Arkansas, Kory Lundberg, Director of National Media Relations says, “This is a terrible tragedy.  Samantha Clifft is a valued member of the Walmart family and all of our prayers are with her as she recovers both emotionally and physically. We’re cooperating fully with investigators and are giving them as much information as we can to help.”

When asked if the security dead-zone would be addressed at this facility, Lundberg could not confirm. When asked, “Since the victim does not have medical insurance and is a part time worker, will Wal Mart assist with medical bills associated with the helicopter ride and surgeries stemming from this on-the-job attack?” Lundberg responded that the prepared statement is all he could say at this time.

A gofundme account has been set up online by family members for anyone wishing to help.


Woman airlifted after stabbing

Originally posted June 17, 2016

A Hohenwald Wal Mart employee was critically injured around 1 a.m. Friday, June 17, when her estranged husband reportedly assaulted her at work. According to Hohenwald Chief of Police Sam Livingston, HPD responded to the local store to find the victim with multiple stab wounds on the floor in the grocery section. Airick Lee Clifft, 28, was being restrained by other employees until law enforcement arrived. Employees had also taken a five inches long Buck knife from him. Clifft had injured himself with a box cutter and reportedly told those at the scene to “let me die.”

The victim was airlifted to Nashville where Livingston says she was listed in critical but stable condition around 9 a.m. Friday. Airick Lee Clifft was taken to Maury Regional Hospital for treatment and then booked into Lewis County Jail where he remained Friday with no bond on charges of attempted second degree murder.

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