SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County man was arrested after deputies said he exposed himself and assaulted two people, including a pregnant woman.
It all happened inside the Taco Bell on the west side of Spartanburg.
According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Matthew Scott Russell, 24, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he allegedly committed multiple crimes in the span of just 30 minutes. He is now facing 15 charges, including assault, indecent exposure and public disorderly conduct.
“A combination of victims and witnesses had restrained him, and they had actually used garbage bags to tie his hands behind his back,” Lt. Kevin Bobo, with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, said.
That’s what deputies saw when they arrived on scene at the Taco Bell near Westgate Monday night.
Deputies said Matthew Russell went inside the Taco Bell shortly after being involved in a wreck not far from the restaurant.
“It was an intentional hit-and-run accident,” Lt. Bobo said. “There were three victims in that car.”
Russell faces three counts of aggravated assault for the hit-and-run and two counts of assault for what happened inside Taco Bell afterwards.
“Tried to kiss a pregnant female who is, I think, about seven months pregnant,” Lt. Bobo said. “He also tried to touch her pregnant stomach.”
But deputies told 7 News he didn’t stop there.
“The suspect then pulled his pants down and began masturbating inside the restaurant,” Bobo said.
According to an incident report, Russell punched another customer who was trying to get him to stop. That customer was one of many who helped detain Russell until deputies got there.
“I commend the citizens and employees for the way they handled the situation. They appropriately restrained him, but, at the same time, they did not assault him,” Bobo said. “The temptation would have been very strong to make the matters worse and they didn’t.”
Lt. Bobo said he’s also grateful that so many people inside the restaurant called 9-1-1 immediately.
“Despite the traumatic events, to be willing to stay on scene, to call us, to cooperate with us when we got here was crucial,” he said.
When deputies arrived and asked the suspect who he was, they said he gave them a couple of fake names. And, when he was taken to the jail, they said he tried to escape, adding to his long list of charges.
“Thankfully, nobody was hurt in his escapades,” Bobo said.
The victim who was punched and helped hold the suspect until deputies arrived told 7 News it took a lot of self-restraint to not fight back when Russell hit him. He also said that he is praying for the pregnant woman and the suspect.
Russell is being held in the Spartanburg County Detention Center on a $36,000 bond.
According to arrest records, Russell has been charged with public disorderly conduct and assault multiple times in the past.