- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2005

An Alexandria judge yesterday denied bail for a knife-wielding housekeeping worker accused of slashing at least six persons at the Goodwin House retirement home.

Mustafa Mohamed, 30, of Alexandria, appeared by closed-circuit television from jail, where he has been since Sunday’s rampage at the retirement home at 4800 Fillmore Ave. Mr. Mohamed was charged with two counts of malicious wounding, but prosecutors said more charges are possible when the case goes to a grand jury.

“Somebody faced with this serious an offense, I think, is a flight risk,” Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel said outside Alexandria General District Court yesterday. “Secondly, I think the behavior clearly indicates this guy is a danger.”

A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 14.

Three female residents — two of them 94 years old and one 92 — were hospitalized, along with a 40-year-old female employee and a 62-year-old male visitor. An 88-year-old female resident refused medical treatment.

“Even though the injuries are being characterized as non-life-threatening, they were extremely serious,” Mr. Sengel said in court.

He said one victim suffered a broken neck while 200 stitches were required to close the slash wounds on another victim.

Mr. Sengel said the attacks appear to stem from a dispute between Mr. Mohamed and a supervisor.

The attacks began about 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Goodwin House, a residence for more than 400 retired senior citizens. The nine-story residence, belonging to the Episcopal Church, is located across the street from the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

John Springer, 62, said he was in his 95-year-old mother’s room when he heard screams from the hall. He went to the nursing home office and ended up being the attacker’s second victim.

“There was this man on top of a woman who was laying down. And he was cutting her with a knife. And I said, ‘Stop’ And he didn’t,” Mr. Springer told WRC-TV (Channel 4). Mr. Springer said he fell trying to grab the assailant’s arm.

“And then he started slashing me,” Mr. Springer said, adding that when he grabbed the arm the steak knife was in, the attacker would simply switch arms.

Mr. Springer tried to pull the man off employee Jeannie Hobbs, 40, when “he starting slashing me. He was cutting every which way — all in the face.”

And suddenly the man left, heading for other rooms in the building, where four residents were attacked.

Mr. Springer called 911 on his cell phone. His cuts required 64 stitches at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

Miss Hobbs said Mr. Mohamed first tried to stab her. “Then he just started slicing wherever he could,” she told WJLA-TV (Channel 7).

“I thought, ‘Is this my time? Is this the end?’” she said, adding that in the past Mr. Mohamed had always been “superfriendly.”

Police said another visitor managed to disarm Mr. Mohamed, who, court documents state, is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 240 pounds.

“His efforts were very heroic, and we appreciate what he did to keep our other residents safe and secure,” said Colleen Ryan Mallon, corporate director of marketing for Goodwin House.

Mr. Mohamed, of 2500 North Van Dorn St., is charged with maliciously stabbing, cutting and wounding Miss Hobbs and Mr. Springer.

Ms. Mallon said Mr. Mohamed was hired about a year ago. A background check showed he had no criminal or drug-related record, she said.

Ms. Mallon said Mr. Mohamed was working his usual eight-hour shift on Sunday. “It appears to be unprovoked,” she said of the attacks.

The Goodwin House in Alexandria is 37 years old and the first residence and office structure for Goodwin House Inc.. The home provides assisted- and independent-living arrangements for senior citizens.

Ms. Mallon said yesterday staff members called all of the residents’ families after Mr. Mohamed was arrested to assure them that the retirement home was secure.

“The residents don’t feel they are in any danger, but we are following up to just address any concerns,” she said.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.



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