A hospital employee taking a break outside a Massachusetts hospital was stabbed several times unprovoked on Tuesday, said police in Taunton, asking for help finding the attacker.
Hours later, they announced an arrest in the case and recovered a small knife blade, police said.
The stabbing took place Tuesday about 1:15 p.m. on North Pleasant Street outside Morton Hospital and near the O'Keefe-Wade Funeral Home, Taunton police said Wednesday.
A woman "walked up behind [the employee] and stabbed her several times. This was an unprovoked attack on one of our healthcare providers," police said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
The victim, a 44-year-old woman, had her ponytail pulled from behind before the stabbing. She told officers that she felt like she'd been punched in the back, while at the same time like something was sticking her.
"When the victim walked back into the hospital, she notified a fellow employee that she had just been attacked by a woman outside. Upon examination, it was discovered that the victim had multiple puncture wounds on her shoulders and neck. She received medical care at the hospital, where she was treated and discharged," police Chief Edward Walsh said in a statement.
The woman who was attacked told officers she didn't know the woman who attacked her -- whom she snapped a picture of -- and that the attack was random.
The hospital said in a statement Wednesday that, "Fortunately, the victim sustained only minor injuries, received outpatient treatment at Morton's ER including stitches, and chose to finish their shift while also electing to work today."
Victoria Disharoon, a 28-year-old from Taunton, was arrested on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon Wednesday afternoon in Raynham, police said Wednesday afternoon.
Multiple tips were sent to Taunton police, including from another police department, that helped identify Disharoon as the suspected stabber. A small pocket knife blade that doesn't have a handle was recovered during the investigation, and it's believed to have been used in the attack.
"This was great police work by our detectives and I want to thank the many people that sent in tips, leading to an arrest in this case," Walsh said in an updated statement.
Disharoon is expected to face the charge against her in Taunton District Court Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney who could speak to the charge.
Workers and patients at Morton Hospital were on edge after the stabbing.
"Their job is hard enough, they don’t need to be stabbed sitting outside the hospital," said patient Jason Mello. "It's ridiculous."
Jackie Fitts, a nurse, was upset with what she called a lack of notification from the hospital about what happened.
"I found out this morning when my daughter called me because she saw the article," she said.
Police had initially said the victim was a nurse, but a spokesman later announced that they were a hospital employee instead.