Witness: 'The thought of someone coming in there and trying to steal people's kids'

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - "It was so fast. It was just so unbelievable that someone would do something like that," said a witness, who did not want to be identified.

A customer in the Kenner Walmart on Veterans Boulevard picked up her phone and started recording as police arrested 33-year-old Billy Yoe Budier-Herrera.

"I didn't know what would be next. I was like, let me just get this all on video," the customer said.

Everything started Friday at about 2 p.m. when Budier-Herrera walked into Walmart armed with a machete.

"He proceeds to the deli section of the store, where they have a female and a 2-year-old inside the grocery cart," Kenner Police spokesman Lt. Brian McGregor said.

Police said he told the mother if she didn't listen he would kill her and her son.

"You could see them going back and forth, and you could see she asked for help, and he reached to grab the child, at which time the mom begins to fight for her child," McGregor said.

Police said the mother frantically pulled her little boy to safety and handed him to an employee.

"They have an asset protection employee who sees what's going on, and there's an altercation in the deli section, and the individual is able to break free and retreat to the meat and poultry section of the store," McGregor said.

At that point, investigators said several employees surrounded Budier-Herrera when he pulled out the machete and started swinging it at them. They said he took off running and approached the mother and her son.

"He immediately tries, while still armed with the machete, tries to grab the infant, and that mother tries fighting with him, as well. An employee comes up and hits him from behind, and that pushes him forward, and the altercation continues until they get to the front door," McGregor said.

"It was more like screams all of a sudden. People were running, and they were afraid," a customer said.

Kenner Police entered the store and tackled the machete-wielding man to the floor.

"It was just so scary. The thought of someone coming in there and trying to steal people's kids. The mother was so shocked. She was hysterical," the customer said.

Police said Budier-Herrera is in the country illegally and may have a history of mental illness.

"There were enough good Samaritans, employees and police. He wasn't getting away," McGregor said.

Budier-Herrera remains locked up on a $500,000 bond.

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