Suspect search underway in finger-biting attack in Cherry Hill Mall parking lot

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - March 10, 2014

It was 4:40 p.m. Saturday when police responded to the Nordstrom's parking lot by Aisle 18 for a report of a parking dispute between two motorists.

"As soon as I got out of the car she started calling me all types of B-words," said Tonya Knight-Joseph, victim.

Knight-Joseph described what happened to her on Saturday afternoon.

She had circled the parking lot near Nordstrom's while her friend waited for her at Bahama Breeze. She saw a car pull in and out of a parking space then leave.

Knight-Joseph pulled her car into the space and that's when she says two women approached her accusing her of taking their parking spot.

"She got this close to my face, her nose touched my nose. She was yelling and screaming then she hit me in the face," she said.

Knight-Joseph was scratched in the face and she put up her hands in defense. That's when she was bitten by one of the females and a portion of her finger was nearly severed.

"All of a sudden, I must have been pushing the initial attacker away and she bit down on my finger and proceeded to chomp. By the time I looked at it, it was hanging off by a little piece of skin. I immediately picked up my cell, called 911 and followed her into the Nordstrom's," said Knight-Joseph.

Knight-Joseph ran after the woman but 911 dispatchers told her to stop.

"This is a very big deal, beyond an assault. She went through to the bone, the bone is actually fractured, and the finger was nearly severed. This is an aggravated assault and it's something very serious. You're always concerned with bites, also with infections," said Lt. Amy Winters, Cherry Hill Police.

Knight-Joseph remains at Cooper University Hospital and was treated with tetanus shots and tested for HIV. She is still waiting to know if part of her finger will be amputated.

"I think it's outrageous and ridiculous. I don't understand how someone who is so angry should be out in public period," said Knight-Joseph.

Police released an image of the suspect who the victim says bit her. She is described as a black female in her mid-thirties, heavy set build with "bushy" hair, possibly operating a dark colored, older model Audi sedan.

The suspect was seen with another woman and possibly with two teenagers who were inside the vehicle. After the attack, the suspect ran into the mall and got away.

Anyone with information about the incident or the suspects is asked to call the Cherry Hill Police Department at (856) 488-7828.

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