An argument over an empty shopping cart escalated and became violent last week.
It happened around 2:00 p.m. Friday outside of the Walmart store in New Berlin.
In a criminal complaint, the Waukesha County District Attorney said 60-year old John Engebos, of Wauwatosa, is charged with second degree recklessly endangering safety, misdemeanor battery, and disorderly conduct.
The recklessly endangering safety charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Cori Richardson, of Milwaukee, said she was leaving the Walmart store when she noticed Engebos had placed an empty shopping cart onto a grassy median.
She said the cart was partially blocking in her vehicle.
Richardson alleged that she asked Engebos to return to the cart to a nearby corral and that he replied by yelling at her.
Eventually, she said Engebos became violent, even though Richardson was accompanied by her 9-year old daughter and 8-month old son.
“It all just went so fast,” Richardson said. “I was terrified for my own life and for theirs.”
“He just started throwing punches and kicks and took me to the ground,” she said.
Richardson alleged Engebos also took her vehicle's keys away from her and, at some point during the struggle, pulled a chunk of her hair out.
“I was just trying to defend myself as best as I could,” Richardson said. “I believe I scratched him at one point.”
She said her own shopping cart, with her son in it, rolled away through the parking lot as the altercation unfolded.
Investigators said surveillance video captured outside of the store shows that the young child’s “car seat can be seen violently shifting in the cart before the cart then begins rolling unattended through the lot."
According to the criminal complaint, Engebos fled the area and was eventually taken into custody at his home.
“He admitted he had been at the Walmart and got into an altercation with someone in the parking lot over the placement of his shopping cart,” the complaint said. “The defendant stated he thought (Richardson) was going to attack him because she was yelling and calling him an (expletive), so he took her to the ground.”
“He denied taking (Richardson’s) keys, and denied knowing there was an infant in the shopping cart,” the complaint said.
Following an initial court appearance this week, Engebos was released from the Waukesha County Jail Tuesday after posting a $1,000 cash bond.
He's due back in court Aug. 7.