A former New Jersey pastor was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in jail for a shocking attack on baby in a Kansas Walmart.
Oleh Zhownirovych, 55, reportedly approached a stranger in a checkout line before grabbing her then 4-month-old daughter’s neck and choking. The woman screamed for help during the attack and several nearby customers pulled the baby away from Zhownirovych, reported the Kansas City Star.
The baby’s mother, Quisha Hill, spoke to FOX 4 after the bizarre October 2016 attack.
“I come in to grab couple items, and while I was at the counter top, speaking with the lady and bagging up my groceries, this random man comes out of nowhere and yanks the car seat out of the cart, has my baby, and he’s like ‘I’m taking the baby, I’m stealing her. I’m taking her. Call 911. Call 911,’” Her infant was not seriously injured.
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“He was always exceptionally good with children and young people when he was pastor,” Walter Mohuchy, the vice president of the Holy Ascension Cathedral church council, told NorthJersey.com in the months after the incident.
He added, “This is totally out of character for him.”
Zhownirovych served as pastor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Cathedral in Clifton for over a dozen years. He was asked to leave the church in 2015, when he told churchgoers he was going to Florida for treatment for alcoholism.
He plead no contest for the October 2016 attack with charges including felony aggravated batter and misdemeanor battery.