A Benbrook mother beaten and robbed at a NorthPark Center parking garage Wednesday afternoon bought a gun Thursday and will be taking a License-to-Carry class over the weekend.
She says she will not be a victim again, and plans to only shop where she'd be legally allowed to carry a gun for her protection.
A day after her attack, Brittany Arterberry is forced to re-live her attack. She says she can taste the pepper spray in her mouth and feel it on her skin.
"Ah, sorry, when my hair gets into my eyes, it triggers the pepper spray," she said, at the beginning of her interview with NBC 5. "If my hair flies into my face, it’s a burning sensation and it makes my eyes water up. I still taste a little bit on my lips, because those oils are still on my skin."
A day after three robbers pepper-sprayed her and beat her, Brittany bought a gun at an Academy Sports by her home in Benbrook.
"I got the gun today because I don’t want to be a victim again. I don’t want to have to feel unsafe if i take my daughter to the grocery store or go to the mall to get a new pair of boots," she said.
"It's a Taurus brand," she said, proudly displaying her new purple 9mm handgun. "I need to be prepared. I want to feel safe when I go out."
Wednesday afternoon, Brittany, her husband, and their precocious 3-year-old daughter, Abigail, had just returned to their SUV after shopping at NorthPark. Their SUV was parked in a garage in the northeast section of the mall.
Brittany's husband was already sitting in the vehicle. Brittany had just strapped Abigail into her carseat and was putting the stroller away in the trunk.
"I reached up to close the trunk and as soon as I turned around, I was just met with pepper spray, right in my face. And it just choked me and suffocated me," she said. "And then I felt someone grabbing my hair. And there were repeated blows all over my face, and the back of my head and my neck. It was just 'give me your purse, let go of the purse.'"
Brittany and her husband fought back. The crooks got away with an iPhone, but not the Michael Kors purse, before driving away.
Brittany says two security guards told her a nearby camera wasn’t working, so they couldn't review the surveillance video to look for the individuals or their getaway car. She said the guards told her they were patrolling another part of the mall at the time of the attack.
She says she won’t be back to NorthPark again.
"If you’re going to have that kind of clientele, and provide those kinds of services, you need to back it up with a bigger security presence. Like, how about cameras that work?" she said. "NorthPark is a very high-end mall. They need to hire more security officers, or at least make their presence more known. You don’t need them gathered inside when the real crime is taking place in the parking lot that your patrons frequent."
Dallas police records show there have been four robberies at NorthPark parking areas over the last month. Two of them occurred within the last 11 days.
There was a robbery at 7:45 p.m. on Dec. 23, at 4 p.m. on Dec. 29, at 10:45 p.m. on Jan. 16 and Brittany's robbery at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
"We have no reason to believe there is any effort to target NorthPark, and there has not been any significant increase in crime at NorthPark," said NorthPark publicist Kristen Gibbons. “We have increased security in the areas where the incident occurred.”
Gibbons said the mall has plans to hire additional security officers.
Brittany says she feels lucky to be alive.
“I was not on guard. Not in the middle of the day. Like, you’re not worried about someone lurking around the corners,” she said. “They had a hammer in their backseat of the vehicle. What if they decided to use that instead of the mace? One blow to the head and I’m out. Forever.”
NorthPark released the following statement regarding the incident:
As has been reported, there was an incident in the parking garage adjacent to Macy’s yesterday afternoon. NorthPark is working with the Dallas Police Department in its investigation. We have no reason to believe there is any effort to target NorthPark, and there has not been any significant increase in crime at NorthPark. We have increased security in the areas where the incident occurred, and we will continue to work closely with the Dallas Police Department to ensure the safety and security of everyone at NorthPark."
Publicist, NorthPark Center