SLIDELL -- Five o'clock on a sunny Wednesday, in the front of a full grocery store parking lot, at the busy intersection of Highway 11 and Gause, a Slidell woman, who we're not identifying for her safety, experienced the unthinkable.

After taking one child out of the car, getting items from the trunk, and taking the other child out, a man caught her eye.

"He was about six feet away from me, much closer than I would have liked but he wasn't aggressive in any way," she said.

But a few steps later, "he said, 'Well ma'am, I'm not going to lie. I need money, I have a gun and I don't want to hurt anybody,'" she recalled. "But the second I heard gun, I just took off running."

At the same time, Johnni Dycus was loading her groceries and heard the woman screaming for help, with the man now chasing her as she held the children.

"He actually physically jumped onto her back and swung his arm over the front of her as I saw him drag her down to the ground," said Dycus.

"He was punching and kicking me in the head, the chest and in the face," said the woman.

"I knew there was nothing that I could do to help her physically, so I ran back in the store and was yelling, "Somebody please come help this woman she's being attacked,'" said Dycus.

Several people were able to stop the attack and hold the man, identified as 44-year-old Jimmy Porter, for police. Though the woman was left with bruises, and her children unharmed, the incident was an eye-opener.

"I feel like I can handle myself, I feel like I can take care of myself if I needed to, and no, not when you have the kids," she said.

Both of these women said regardless of the city, store, day and time, always be aware of your surroundings and always be ready to act.

"Get off your cell phone, pay attention, don't fumble around in your purse, don't fumble around in your car," said the woman.

Dycus added, "If it's not you that is the victim, like in my case, I think it's always important that we help people that are around us."

The suspect in this case was booked for robbery, two counts of battery, and intentional exposure to AIDS virus.