Witness recalls encounter with man who trashed Bloomingdale's on day suspect returns to court
A person who witnessed the man caught on camera trashing the Bloomingdale's cosmetics department in Norwalk talked about what happened Tuesday as the suspect returned to court.
The witness, who asked News 12 not to identify him, is also a victim in this case. Police say the suspect attacked him just before heading into the SoNo Collection store. He says it has made him a lot more cautious and skeptical of people in public.
The violent rampage destroyed more than $100,000 worth of merchandise at the newly opened store. It shows Jason Gilbertie clearing counters and knocking over displays the evening of Jan. 13.
On Tuesday, a more subdued Gilbertie appeared in court, where a public defender was appointed to his case. The 42-year-old is charged with criminal mischief, assault, breach of peace and interfering with an officer.
"When I got off the escalator, this guy approached me. A normal looking guy, nothing unusual about him other than he was smoking a cigarette. And he just hauled off and hit me," says the victim.
The man says he saw stars and his eye began to bleed from the attack. He grabbed a garbage can as Gilbertie came toward him again.
"I threw that at his feet and then I saw another one, so I picked that up and I threw that at him. And when I threw the second one at him, he headed into Bloomingdale's, he just started on a rampage, knocking over cases, perfume bottles, throwing things at the wall," says the victim.
The disturbance caused customers to run and hide, believing what they heard what a shooting. When security guards tried to intervene, Gilbertie allegedly punched one of them.
Police arrived soon after, with officers needing to use stun guns to take him into custody.
"It was so random. It could be anybody, anywhere, you just don't know where somebody like that is," says the victim. "It really does change your perspective."
Gilbertie remains in police custody on $50,000 bond. If he gets released, he's been ordered to stay away from the mall and the man he's accused of punching.