It’s common knowledge that too much stress can manifest itself physically. The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease, and too much stress causes high blood pressure which, among other factors, can lead to the condition.
But stress can put lives at risk in other ways, too. As customers in a high-stress situation in a Walmart parking lot would find out, it can change a person’s decision making and behavior to a life-threatening degree…
As anyone who has been there on this particular day of the week will tell you, Sundays at a Walmart tend to be really busy. It’s one of two days of the week where people with typical Monday through Friday schedules have an opportunity to pick up the things they need. Big-box stores like Walmart are perfect if you don’t want to have to stop in more than one place.
On a hot and humid Sunday in Snellville, a small Georgia city just to the east of Atlanta, the local Walmart was bustling in the early evening, still a few hours before the summer sun would set. Troy and Patricia had just finished up their shopping and were leaving the store.
Patricia had recently given birth to a premature baby, which was almost certainly an ongoing stressful circumstance. She’d just finished dealing with the hustle and bustle of the crowded store only to be subjected to the Georgia heat. It was enough to put anyone in a bad mood.
As Patricia made her way to her car with Troy, pushing her stroller into the crosswalk, a car came to a stop several feet over the white lines that were supposed to be the safe place for pedestrians to walk. It was in that moment that Patricia lost it.
Reviewing The Tape
“[Patricia] was apparently angry at [the driver] for being in the crosswalk,” Snellville Police Department Lt. John McKinney testified at an August hearing. “I don’t think she saw what led up to him being in the crosswalk; she was coming out of the store but his car had already started into the crosswalk and she was upset that he was in the crosswalk as she was pushing a baby stroller.”
Patricia Austin and her baby were never in any sort of danger. The car was about four and a half feet into the crosswalk and 10 feet away from her. Nevertheless, she became furious with Fadil Delkic, the driver of the car.
Out of The Car
“Her husband couldn’t understand why he was being yelled at or what was being said, so he opened his door,” said Lt. McKinney. “When he opened his door, some more words were exchanged and Ms. Austin kept telling Delkic to get out of the car, so he got out of the car.”
At that point, Fadil started walking toward Patricia and Troy, who had continued walking toward their car, which was about 10 spots away from where the incident began.” What happened next was a unfortunate series of events, all caught in the footage of Walmart’s security cameras.
Beyond The Pale
When Fadil got about a foot away from Patricia, she reached out and hit him in the face, causing him to recoil. She would later say she felt as if the man, who was a complete stranger, was going to hit her first. As the violence erupted, Patricia’s boyfriend Troy Hunte reached into his pocket and drew a firearm and fired a single shot.
In an Instant
“You see [Fadil] snap back and then immediately turn to the left a little bit and then kneel forward,” Lt. McKinney said, commenting on the surveillance footage. “It happened so fast – strike, go back, fire. It’s within microseconds. [Fadil] went back and it looks like when he was back, he was shot, because then he goes forward.”
After being struck in the chest with a single bullet, Fadil fell to the ground and immediately bled out. Someone called 911 and Troy and Patricia waited by their car until police and paramedics arrived.
When the ambulance arrived, the first responders did their best to stabilize the gunshot victim as they rushed him to the hospital. Unfortunately, Fadil Delkic would later be pronounced dead at the hospital.
Before his senseless death in the Walmart parking lot, Fadil had been a survivor of a Bosnian concentration camp during the war there in the 1990s. He and his wife of 27 years would later emigrate the to the United States, where they had three children.
Had the 49-year-old not been killed, he would have become a grandfather in November when his oldest daughter was due to give birth to her first child. Fadil was also survived by two other teenage children, a boy and a girl.
“Fadil will now never get to meet his first granddaughter,” a niece of his wrote. “He was loved by all of his friends and did anything for anyone. He touched the hearts of hundreds of people. He was a selfless character with one of the purest hearts. He was often heard singing loudly and laughing at the joys of life despite all that he has gone through and seen with the war.”
That glowing description of the man Fadil was were written in the GoFundMe campaign his family started in order to help pay for transporting his body back to his native Bosnia. The funds would also go toward helping with legal fees. While their initial goal was just $10,000, over 600 people donated nearly $40,000 in just a few days.
Part of the reason that they needed money for legal fees was Fadil’s family had filed a lawsuit against both Walmart and Troy Hunte. They requested a trial by jury in a wrongful death suit asking for the “full value of the life of Fadil Delkic in an amount to be determined by the evidence, as well as all damages to which Plaintiff is entitled under Georgia law.”
‘You’re at Fault’
They were also seeking any potential additional claims “arising from pain and suffering, punitive damages and all compensatory damages.” They felt Walmart was at fault because they didn’t have sufficient security to prevent such a situation from arising and escalating to deadly violence.
As for the criminal charges against him, Troy was initially charged with voluntary manslaughter but after a police investigation reviewed the video footage and examined all of the witness statements, the charges were changed to felony murder.
Whatever the outcome of the criminal or civil cases, one thing is certain: There was no good reason why Fadil Delkic wouldn’t get to see his granddaughter’s birth. A few people got into a highly stressful situation and the result was as pointless as it was extreme.