Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– WJZ is learning more about a bleach attack in a Baltimore County Wal-Mart on Saturday that sent 18 people to the hospital.
Monique Griego reports two very different portraits are emerging of the suspect.
Those two sides of the suspect boil down to this– a lengthy police record versus people who know her as a good person and mother.
All bottles of bleach carry the warnings about the chemical hazards. Few would choose it as a weapon, but that’s what police say Theresa Jefferson, 33, did Saturday morning at a Wal-Mart in western Baltimore County.
“I just heard this morning. It shocked me,” said one person.
“It’s not in Theresa’s nature to be violent,” said Jefferson’s neighbor Shawanda Price.
Theresa Jefferson’s neighbors on Lakeside Circle say the woman arrested is not the woman they know.
“She’s a hard worker,” Price said. “She don’t mess with anyone. She takes care of her children. She helps in the community. It’s just totally out of character, so she was probably provoked.”
It was allegedly a running dispute that erupted into violence inside the Wal-Mart. The victim is a woman who reportedly dates Theresa Jefferson’s former boyfriend, who is also the father of Jefferson’s child.
“During the assault, the suspect grabbed bleach and also ammonia, and poured it on the victim. Because of the mixture of the two chemicals, it actually caused a hazmat scene at that point,” Officer Shawn Vinson, spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department, said.
Eighteen people, including the victim, were taken to the hospital complaining of eye and respiratory irritation.
Jefferson’s arrest adds to a lengthy rap sheet that includes charges of domestic violence, auto theft and drug possession.
But neighbors say they never saw that side of her and say she never talked about her former boyfriend or the woman who was attacked.
“She is a very good mother,” Jefferson’s neighbor Dolores Johnson said. “She don’t mess with nobody. She minds her business.”
Jefferson is charged with first- and second-degree assault. Bail was set at $350,000 when she was booked.
Although one person was taken to the Wilmer Eye Clinic for evaluation, the other 17 people were transported to area hospitals. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.