Store employee helps woman held against her will


SMITHVILLE, MO (KCTV) – A convenience store employee says a woman walked into her Smithville store off south US 169 around 9:15 a.m. November 4th asking for help.

“She immediately said, ‘Someone is going to be coming in here after me. I’m going to lock myself in the woman’s restroom. Please call 911,’” Jill Volpi said.

Within seconds, the man walked inside the store and kicked down the bathroom door. Volpi says she could hear the woman’s screams and rushed to help.

“He was hurting her really badly,” Volpi said. “I tried to pull him off of her.”

The man threw her into a wall and continued to attack the other woman. Volpi says she continued to try to stop the attack for what seemed like the longest two minutes.

“I was fearful for her life,” Volpi said. “Obviously, she was fearful for her own life.”

Prosecutors say Darrell W. Cooper eventually ran and drove away. Volpi and another employee called 911.

“I was blessed to be in a community where the first responders are so efficient, well trained and good at what they do,” Volpi said. “By the time I was released from the hospital, they had already found him, and he was in custody.”

The victim told police Cooper was holding her against her will. She convinced him to let her use the restroom. They just happened to choose the store where Volpi works.

“I grew up on the south side of Chicago,” Volpi said. “My father is a retired Chicago police officer. I was raised how to protect myself from a really young age.”

She hopes sharing her story might encourage others to take self-defense courses.

“I took a beating yesterday but it’s all so worth it and such a small price to pay to know the girl is alive today,” Volpi said.

Cooper is held on a $250,000 bond. He is charged with two counts of felony assault. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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