A shooting victim honored by President Trump for heroism during the El Paso Walmart attack is not a hero after all, police officials told ABC-7, and the man turned out to be a wanted fugitive.
Chris Grant, 50, was detained by Secret Service agents at the White House earlier this week just before he was slated to receive a heroism commendation from Trump along with others from El Paso.
Grant’s mother accepted the certificate from the president on her son’s behalf after agents took Grant into custody on what officials in Washington, D.C. described as an active arrest warrant for being a “fugitive from justice.”
A Secret Service spokesperson confirmed to ABC-7 that Grant was later released when “the agency that issued the warrant would not extradite.” The Secret Service would not elaborate, although Grant reportedly has a Texas criminal record for car theft and evading arrest.
Meantime, El Paso Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told ABC-7 that the White House and other entities never attempted to verify Grant’s claim that he threw soda bottles at the Walmart gunman to try to stop him before being wounded in the gunfire.
“It’s just that what he said is not truthful,” Carrillo said. “We saw his actions (on store surveillance video) and it’s not like he described.”
Grant was interviewed by CNN while hospitalized after the Aug. 3 shooting, when he first made the heroic claim that drew praise from Trump.
“Chris grabbed — listen to this — soda bottles and anything else in front of him, and began hurling them at the gunman, distracting him from the other shoppers and causing the shooter to turn toward Chris and fire at Chris, whereby Chris suffered two serious gunshot wounds. But he is recovering well, and we wish him the best. His family is here. So please thank Chris for us, please,” Trump said at the White House ceremony on Monday.
El Paso police officials called this situation “unprecedented.”
“We’ve never had anything like this happen, never had a victim’s report so skewed from what actually happened” and receive this much attention, Sgt. Robert Gomez told ABC-7.