Female crossing guard beaten in front of kids

SOUTH LOS ANGELES Shirley Mayberry, 59, only had a whistle and a stop sign. Still, she was determined to do what she could to safeguard the children.

L.A. County Sheriff's detectives said Mayberry was escorting children across the street at Hooper Avenue and Firestone Boulevard in the Florence-Firestone area when two suspects in a black Ford Expedition attempted to drive through the intersection at about 2 p.m.

Mayberry's husband told Eyewitness News about her violent encounter with driver Jose Hernandez and his passenger Vanessa Martinez.

"I was 'what do you mean you got attacked?' 'Someone jumped on me and knocked me down and I bruised my head,'" said Theotis Sutton, the injured crossing guard's husband.

Mayberry said she was worried first for the children when the driver allegedly entered an occupied crosswalk.

"She puts them first. She likes the kids. She walked out there and she make sure that she was yelling at the driver, 'The kids come first! The kids come first!' He just pursued on through," said Sutton.

The beating was bad enough, but then they stole the sign she used to slap the car. Detectives found it when tips led them to the two suspects.

The incident happened in front of about 20 elementary school children and adults.

Mayberry 's injuries seemed minor at the time, but not now. Sutton said he spoke to a doctor who said that his wife may have had a small heart attack.

It was all for a job that pays $9.50 an hour, hardly enough to cover her gas. At her crosswalk, parents vented.

"That was uncalled for, so wrong. How do you get out of a car and beat up a crossing guard, get back and drive away?" said parent Grace Key.

Mayberry's employer All City Management said guards are taught to be clear and assertive. The vehicle code gives guards limited police authority. Specifically, it is illegal to enter a crosswalk occupied by a guard. Drivers are supposed to obey them.

As for Mayberry's husband, he wants her to quit.

"I have been advising her it's not worth it. So now she came to the conclusion that I was right, so she is no longer going to pursue it," said Sutton.

Mayberry remained in the hospital Tuesday night. The two suspects are in jail, facing multiple felony charges.

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