i watched a woman stab another woman in the back.
here is the story from the washington post.
here is my version:
father, his wife natasha and i went shopping, ending up at nordstrom around 7 pm.
as we walked to the escalator to get from the second to the third level, i heard screaming. thinking it was a couple or a parent and child arguing, i ignored the yelling, but it grew louder. we stepped onto the escalator, and a woman screamed,
"she just stabbed her! go back down, go back down!"
unable to understand what was happening--this kind of event is unbelievable--we remained on the escalator heading up to the scene of the stabbing.
the saleswoman ran from the stabbing to the down escalator, heading from the third level to the second, yelling at us,
"run down the up escalator, go down, go down!"
the woman below me managed to do so. i tried to rush down, but i was too high up, as was my father and natasha.
i felt nothing.
i just wanted information.
as we walked off the escalator onto the third level and stepped around to get to the down escalator, i scanned the scene, maybe looking for an angry woman out for blood, but noticed a woman walking from the clothing racks.
she seemed too calm.
5'6", in her 40s, in a blue button-front shirt untucked from a pair of tan pants. her hair was a somewhat unkempt short afro, she would not stand out in a crowd.
her hands were down at her sides, in her right hand she held a large kitchen knife, the kind from horror movies.
i stopped in my tracks. i didn't know how i would react if she came toward us--that was beyond my scope of thinking. i just wanted to see her and her moves. if i could see her, then i was ok, i think my brain thought.
three or four of us remained on the third level. almost everyone else--customers and employees--had evacuated the building.
a straggling shopper in a pink sweater was running toward the down escalator. she didn't pay attention to the woman with the knife and kind of skipped onto the elevator, ahead of her. thinking she was safe, she began folding her jacket.
the woman with the knife stepped onto the escalator behind her.
after a beat, the woman with the knife began stabbing the customer in the pink sweater.
it seemed as if it was almost not going to happen.
i couldn't scream or move.
the woman in the pink sweater ran down the steps, but the stabber followed her, sticking the knife repeatedly between her shoulder blades.
i lost sight of them.
i ran around to see if we should go down to level two, but then realized the woman with the knife was down there and stopped. the we saw the blood on the floor that had dripped off the knife on level three. i stepped in it, but there wasn't enough to trail.
a knife blade lay on the tiles next to the escalator, which was revolving bloody steps.
the stabber was on the second level, still holding the knife, this time with more blood on it.
[i learned that the second victim ran into the garage and collapsed there]
a man told the woman to "drop the knife"
she waited a beat and dropped it. she never said a word or made a sound.
he then ran up to her and handcuffed her [i found out he was an off-duty fbi agent shopping].
shook-up customer who got stuck with us on the third level was the first to see the knives moments before the stabbing had begun--she told me the woman had four kitchen knives in one hand. this would support the existence of the extra blade on the floor i saw before i spoke to this shopper.
an employee saw the stabber attack the first victim. the stabber said nothing, just started poking the knife into the woman's abdomen and back.
i got as many facts as i could and called the washington post, where my columbia j-school alumnus mitra kalita is a reporter. they quoted me in the story.
i didn't even think to be a witness for the police.