A bail hearing in District Court was scheduled today for a man charged with attempted murder in the midday attack of a woman in downtown Baltimore, police said.
The victim, Ronette Coates, 21, of the 700 block of N. Stricker St. in West Baltimore, was listed in fair condition today at the Maryland Shock-Trauma Center. She was seriously injured yesterday after she was stabbed in the head and side with what was possibly her own penknife.
The stabbing took place about 1:40 p.m. in the 500 block of Guilford Ave. across from the Baltimore Sun building and was witnessed by dozens of employees.
Homicide detectives said they had not been able to interview her and did not know the motive for the assault. But interviews with the woman's alleged attacker and her boyfriend indicated that Ms. Coates and the man charged in her assault did not know each other, police said.
Last night, police charged Michael Edward Thomas, 36, of the 3000 block of Auchentoroly Terrace, near Druid Hill Park, with assault with intent to murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He was arrested shortly after the attack when two city workers followed the man and pointed him out to police.
He was treated at Mercy Medical Center for minor injuries and was being held at the Central District lockup pending today's bail hearing.
Witnesses said they saw a man and a woman fighting on a concrete divider on Guilford Avenue and were unsure whether they were witnessing an assault or a domestic dispute.
Five city workers -- carpenters in the Transportation Department -- were walking back to work along Guilford Avenue after attending a memorial service for city workers who died on the job when they saw the incident.
Ms. Coates was stabbed once in the right temple with a small penknife, which possibly belonged to her, police said. She also was stabbed in her left side, a wound that was not detected until she arrived at the hospital.
"As we approached, he just jumped on her, put her down and stabbed her," said Roberto Castellano, one of the workers. "We all froze up, because what the [assailant] had, we didn't know," Mr. Castellano said.
After the assailant fled, another city employee, Percell Phillips, ran up to Ms. Coates and applied pressure to her head to stop the blood.
"I just stayed with her and tried to keep her calm," a shaken Mr. Phillips said later. "And I said a prayer."
After the assault, her alleged attacker tossed the knife into a parking lot under the Jones Falls Expressway and fled up Guilford Avenue, west on Bath Street and south on Calvert Street. Two other city workers followed the man until they flagged a police officer.