A gun-toting mom who reportedly pulled her piece on a man trying to abduct her child from a West Virginia mall Tuesday, now says the dramatic incident may have simply been a “cultural misunderstanding.”
The incident at Huntington Mall in Barboursville initially led to the arrest of Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, an engineer from Egypt. WSAZ reported the Egyptian consulate even became involved, contacting West Virginia authorities since cops said Zayan, who’d been arrested on an abduction charge, doesn’t speak English.
But authorities released the engineer from jail later Tuesday night — and a prosecutor is now deciding whether to charge the woman after she allegedly told them she may have misinterpreted Zayan’s friendliness for fiendishness.
Barboursville police initially said they were told Zayan grabbed the hair of the woman’s 5-year-old daughter and tried to “drag her” away, prompting the woman to pull her gun and force Zayan to release the girl.
But Sgt. Anthony Jividen said it appeared Zayan may have simply patted the young girl on the head. While there were no witnesses to the incident, surveillance video reportedly alerted police to some inconsistencies in the mother’s initial story.
News outlets reported Zayan cried as he greeted family members upon his release from jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.