Sister says man accused in Concord Mills assaults is 'schizophrenic'

Witness: Man attacked multiple people inside Concord Mills Mall
David Leon Simpson (Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office)
David Leon Simpson (Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office)

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - A Salisbury man who allegedly assaulted at least five people inside Concord Mills on Tuesday afternoon appeared before a judge on Wednesday morning.

Thirty-two-year-old David Leon Simpson appeared in a Cabarrus County courtroom via video and was slow to answer the judge. He asked for a court appointed lawyer, was assigned Matthew Ginn of Concord.

Simpson was arrested by police in the parking lot of Concord Mills Mall on Tuesday evening after witnesses say he attacked people inside, seemingly at random.

Concord Communications released the five calls to 911 about the incident on Thursday.

One of those people who called was Joseph Jarrett.

He told WBTV the man walked into the Jared's Vault at Concord Mills on Tuesday afternoon around 2:45 p.m.

The employee saw Simpson assault the store's manager and another employee.

"My biggest fear was whether or not he'd pull out a gun," said Joseph Jarrett, who witnessed the ordeal. "He was just hitting people. Walking by and hitting them."

That's when Jarrett told WBTV that Simpson grabbed a stool and shattered a glass case inside the store.

When Simpson left the store, he punched a nearby teenager in the face, according to the witness.

"He would just draw back as hard as he could and wail out in a full out uppercut," said Jarrett.

According to the witness, Simpson was approached by an older, female security guard who he assaulted, along with another person in the mall.

"One of the girls was definitely black and blue on the side of the face that she got hit," he said. "The boy was bleeding out of his nose."

Another woman called 911 and said that Simpson punched her in the face.

"I was just walking with my baby and a man just punched me in the face," she tells the dispatcher moments after it happened.

According to Concord police, Simpson left the mall and attempted to steal a vehicle from a person in the parking lot but was unsuccessful.

Officers tased the man and arrested him, according to the witness.

"To see that unfold in front of me like that I couldn't believe it," said another witness named Bobby.

Police say all victims received only minor injuries and believe this is a random act.

Simpson's sister was at the courthouse on Wednesday morning. She would not talk on camera but says she is very upset.

She says she went to the Rowan Magistrate's Office on Saturday night and tried to have Simpson committed.  She says he is a "self medicating, paranoid, schizophrenic" and has been diagnosed as such.

She told WBTV the Magistrate would not allow her to fill out the paperwork because Simpson had a court date on Tuesday and that he would miss the court date if he were committed.

She says she went back on Sunday and that a different Magistrate did let her fill out the papers, but that once she went to get Simpson, he would not cooperate.

She said Simpson was "not in his right mind" and was "bouncing around from place to place."  She says she knew something was going to happen and says it could have been prevented.

Ray Soporowski, general manager at Concord Mills, released a statement after the incident on Tuesday.

"We take this very seriously as we maintain a zero tolerance policy against crime," Soporowski said. "We are pleased that our security responded immediately and applaud the Concord Police Department for making a quick arrest following today's isolated incident."

Simpson was charged with possession of cocaine, attempted common law robbery, two counts of assault on a female, simple assault, resisting arrest, property damage and disorderly conduct.

Simpson was also served with outstanding misdemeanor warrants from Rowan County for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

A mall spokesman told WBTV on Wednesday morning that there will likely be no chances to mall security procedures since the was a random incident.

Simpson is currently in the Cabarrus County Jail on a $78,000 bond on 11 charges. The charges range from assault on two different women to property damage and possession of cocaine.

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