St. Paul, MN – A homeless woman attacked a St. Paul police officer with a knife and a screwdriver after he tried to let her off with a warning for stealing items from a grocery store.
The incident occurred at the Lunds & Byerlys store on East 10th Street just after 8 p.m. on Monday, the Star Tribune reported.
Store employees told St. Paul Police Officer Joe Ryan that a woman had stuffed items into her jacket and pants without paying for them, so the officer stopped her as she was trying to leave the business.
Officer Ryan told the suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Articia Moore, that he wouldn’t arrest her if she agreed to return the items she had stolen, the Star Tribune reported.
But instead of accepting his generous offer, Moore denied having taken anything.
Officer Ryan said he could see the items she was attempting to conceal, so he pushed her further.
Moore ultimately handed over one beverage, but refused to comply with the officer’s orders to return the rest of the store’s property, the Star Tribune reported.
She then told Officer Ryan that she was homeless and became increasingly uncooperative.
That’s when the officer spotted the handle of a knife protruding from the suspect’s pocket.
When he grabbed onto Moore’s arm, she immediately pulled away from him and pulled out a screwdriver she’d been concealing, the Star Tribune reported.
She then took an overhead swing and slammed the tool into Officer Ryan’s chest.
During the brawl that ensued, Moore slashed at the officer’s arm with a knife, police said.
She was ultimately subdued and placed under arrest on charges of assaulting a police officer and second-degree assault, the Star Tribune reported.
Officer Ryan’s ballistic vest protected him from being injured by the blow from the screwdriver and he suffered a superficial cut to his left bicep from the knife Moore used to attack him, police said.
St. Paul Police Sergeant Mike Ernster said that Moore had no reason to escalate the situation into a full-fledged attack on the officer.
“She had options,” Sgt. Ernster told the Star Tribune. “Thankfully, he wasn’t seriously hurt.”
On Tuesday, Moore pleaded guilty to an Aug. 21 attack on another St. Paul police officer.
During that incident, Moore punched the officer in the face and attempted to bite and scratch him as he was trying to get her to leave a homeless shelter because she was causing a disturbance, the Star Tribune reported.
On Aug. 31, she was charged with obstructing a police officer during a separate incident.
Moore’s next court hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 5.