Armstrong Williams (26543)
Armstrong Williams

It is a nightmare scenario that could happen to any American abroad—being attacked by an armed assailant in your own hotel room and forced to defend yourself only to be arrested and thrown in jail like a common criminal for protecting your family.

For Scott Hapgood and his family, it was bad enough that their vacation to Anguilla turned into a fight for survival. Today, the family is being victimized again as anonymous sources seek to demonize a man who deserves sympathy and praise rather than criticism.

What took place last month was truly reprehensible. Scott, a middle-aged Connecticut father of three, brought his family to the Caribbean island of Anguilla for what was supposed to be relaxation, fun and family time. That all changed when a hotel maintenance man entered his room under the pretense of fixing a sink, before attempting to rob the man at knifepoint as his terrified school-age daughters looked on in horror.

An individual claiming to have been a witness to the aftermath of the bloody fight between Scott Hapgood and his attacker has come forward with a tale of what he says took place in the room of the Malliouhana hotel. This unnamed source asserts that he entered the room to find Scott Hapgood restraining the attacker and refusing to relent until security staff arrived to restrain him. The so-called witness goes on to explain how he watched the attacker go limp and die as Hapgood pinned him to the ground.

But so many elements of this story seem nonsensical and totally defy common sense. The man clearly stated that once security entered the room, Scott released his grip on the assailant and allowed the security guard to take over restraining his attacker. But why in the world would he need to take over restraining someone who was already dead?

Consider this as well: the anonymous source said the attacker died as Hapgood sat atop him. So why, then, did medical staff who entered the room treat the maintenance worker? The last time I checked, first responders render assistance to people who are injured—not corpses.

If Scott Hapgood had killed the maintenance man in the manner that was described, then security, first responders, and Anguilla’s police all would have treated the hotel room as a crime scene. The body would have been left where it was. Again, you don’t take a corpse to the hospital for treatment.

Scott Hapgood, in a statement from his family spokesperson, has said that the attacker was alive when Scott left to get medical treatment for his injuries. It was only later that Scott was told that the man who attacked him passed away.

It is always a tragedy whenever a life is lost, but it is also true that you reap what you sow. If you are going to threaten a man with a weapon and put his children’s lives at risk, then you should be prepared to pay the ultimate price yourself. I don’t know how things actually went down that day, but I believe wholeheartedly that Scott Hapgood had a moral responsibility to do whatever he felt was necessary to neutralize the threat and protect his little girls.

It is more important than ever that we discover the facts—all of them. Is there any truth to the allegations that the attacker was known to police and had prior arrests for violent crimes? This is simple to answer, and Anguilla should release any criminal record immediately.

We already know that the assailant’s own social media pages glorify violence. Images abound of him holding guns, smoking drugs and making obscene gestures. They are much more reminiscent of the poses struck by gangster rappers than the choirboy his friends have made him out to be. Was the attacker on drugs at the time of this event? Is that in part what led him to pursue such a reckless robbery? A full toxicology report would provide some clues. When and where are they?

Scott Hapgood underwent a savage assault and was wildly fortunate to come out of it alive and with his children unharmed. And now, a cynical effort is underway to spread information that is clearly false and seeks to somehow turn Scott from a victim and survivor of violent crime into the bad guy. It is as ridiculous as it is unconscionable.

I sincerely hope that the authorities in Anguilla will come clean with what they know and answer the vital questions. So far, every new piece of information we see seems to confirm that Scott Hapgood is an American hero.