‘I Knew What I Had to Do’

Annie Gowen, Washington Post, Jan. 11

John Springer had just settled down for a cozy Sunday visit with his 95-year-old mother when the hushed halls of the Goodwin House retirement community in Alexandria were pierced by a woman’s scream.

Springer leapt up and ran down the hall to a small office, where he saw a large man in a gray housekeeping uniform bent over an employee, slashing her in the face repeatedly with a steak knife. Blood reddened the walls and the carpet.

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By the time the assailant was subdued by two other visitors and an Alexandria police officer, four elderly residents also were seriously injured, including two who were stabbed or slashed as they lay helpless in their beds in the facility’s health care center. In all, six people, not seven as originally believed, were injured in the attack, including one who suffered a broken neck and another who needed 200 stitches, police said. Two victims remained hospitalized last night.

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Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel said the attack might have stemmed from a disagreement between the suspect and another staff member at the facility, where Mohamed had worked since 2003.

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A former co-worker said yesterday that he had been involved in a different violent altercation with Mohamed in October 2003, while both were working at a CVS in Alexandria.

Omar Abikar, 22, who was then a shift manager, said he tried to befriend Mohamed when he came to work as a stock boy that year, because both were Somali immigrants and new to the United States. Mohamed professed a desire to work up to manager, Abikar said.

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