Nurse is stabbed by mystery assailant on a parking lot at Westview Mall Man strikes, runs, and takes nothing

October 07, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin and Michael Dresser | David Michael Ettlin and Michael Dresser,Staff Writers

A 44-year-old nurse was stabbed yesterday by an assailant on a parking lot at Westview Mall, Baltimore County police said.

Injured was Carolyn Yvonne Johnson.

She was stepping out of her 1985 Nissan 300ZX sports car on the ground level of the mall's enclosed lot when an unknown man ran up and stabbed her twice in the left side, police said.

Ms. Johnson, of the 300 block of N. Beaumont Ave., managed to close her car door and lean on the horn as the man fled.

No words were exchanged, nothing was taken, and the motive for the attack was uncertain, police said.

Ms. Johnson, a nurse at the Harbor Hospital Center, was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment of the wounds, which police said were not life-threaten- ing.

Westview Mall, which recently underwent a $20 million face lift and expansion, has made a vigorous effort to repair its tattered image in the wake of two well-publicized shootings -- one fatal -- during a wave of armed robberies in the parking lot.

The effort, which included an upgrading of the mall's security force, has had some success.

The revitalized mall has attracted several major discount retailers, including Marshall's and T. J. Maxx, and Westview management has reported double-digit increases in sales at many stores.

Zed Smith, who recently took over as general manager of the mall, said he hoped that yesterday's stabbing would not set back the mall's image-polishing in any serious way.

"It kind of stifles our progress a little when incidents like this occur."

Mr. Smith said that in the wake of the June 1991 slaying of teachers' aide Jane Frances Tyson during a robbery behind the Value City department store, Westview's owner, Balcor Property Management Inc. of Skokie, Ill., switched to a security firm that employed only off-duty and retired Baltimore County police officers.

That firm keeps two officers in the mall parking lots, Mr. Smith said. One patrols the front, and the other watches the rear and the lower level, he said.

Mr. Smith said it has been a year and a half since any serious violent incident at the mall.

"I know that you would find that we have a lower incident level than any other mall in this area," he said.

He added that one of the mall's officers was the first person at yesterday's crime scene.

That officer was at the top of the ramp when he heard the victim sounding her horn on the lower level and responded immediately, the mall manager said.

Mr. Smith said the attack appeared to have been "a random act of violence."

"If some lunatic comes up and decides he's going to stab somebody or shoot somebody, it can happen right in front of your house. It can happen downtown," he said.

The murder of Mrs. Tyson, a 49-year-old grandmother, was only the worst of the violent incidents that took place at Westview during 1990 and 1991, when reports of robberies were commonplace.

In September 1990, Katherine E. Dwyer, 44, was approached by a gunman and shot in the arm as she was loading packages into her car near the entrance to Caldor.

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