AUSTIN (KXAN) — The homeless man who threatened to kill a mother and her child at an HEB in South Austin in October also threatened to rob two undercover APD officers in August, police documents reveal.
An official warrant for arrest for 33-year-old Montesillo Sorrells said he approached two undercover officers on Aug. 14 and threatened to beat them if they didn’t give him their money.
According to the warrant, “the detectives identified themselves and allowed Sorrells to leave without facing charges of robbery.”
APD detectives told KXAN, “the elements of robbery were not met in August. The two trained peace officers did not fear imminent bodily injury or death, which is needed.”
Less than two months later, police said Sorrells threatened a mother and her baby as they were leaving an HEB parking lot.
The victim told KXAN that Sorrells told her “not to scream or squeal or he would kill her.” Police said Sorrells fled after the woman ran back into the grocery store.
“Instead of crying or screaming or giving him my purse, I thought, no, not today,” the victim said.
According to police documents, Sorrells is a transient with a long rap sheet. Texas Department of Public Safety records show he is a registered sex offender, with a charge of sexual assault of a child in 2010 and a charge of indecency with a child by exposure from 2017.
Detectives familiar with the case said it’s impossible to say if the crime at HEB would have been prevented if action was taken back in August after Sorrells threatened the officers.
“There are many occasions where individuals that are arrested for violent crimes, are released from jail. As law enforcement, our responsibilities are separate from the judicial system,” the detective wrote.
The victim told KXAN that she is not bothered by the revelation that APD officers did not make an arrest when they were threatened.
“That’s something that has gone through my mind, a lot. But if it wasn’t that guy, it could have been someone else,” the victim said.
She wants to warn other mothers out there to stay alert. She’s now taking jiu jitsu classes and carries mace when she goes on runs. She said she’ll be ready if it ever happens again.
“I don’t know what time of day, I don’t know if I’ll have my child, I don’t know if I’ll be alone. But if someone wants to attack me, then I’ll be ready.”
The Travis County Sheriff’s Office said Sorrells is currently in custody.
Tonight on KXAN News at 6, Alex Caprariello spoke to the victim one-on-one. Her responses to how she feels about the man who threatened her and her baby may surprise you.