Authorities say that on Wednesday night, as parishioners were heading into Fairmount Presbyterian Church for mid-week children’s choir practice, the victim dropped off two children that she babysits. According to Cleveland’s WEWS-TV, the woman was sitting in the auditorium when suddenly a woman allegedly walked into the building and began “punching or shoving” the victim before walking away.
Unbeknownst to the victim, she’d been stabbed, in both her abdomen and arm. She says she didn’t realize she’d been stabbed until she saw the blood.
Someone called authorities, while a church staff member and parishioner held the assailant down. When authorities arrived, they allegedly found a yellow kitchen knife at the scene.
Meredith Lowell, 35, was arrested and taken downtown. The victim, meanwhile, was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Cleveland Heights Police Chief Anne Mecklenburg believes the victim was assaulted because she was wearing fur.
“It is our belief the motive behind the attack was believed to be [the victim] wearing fur. It’s a little different. It’s going to take a lot more legwork by our detectives but they are actively looking into everything,” she said.
Mecklenburg thanked the parishioner and staff member for their bravery.
“They put their safety at risk. They were able to restrain her and hold her down until the police arrived. They are to be commended for their actions no doubt,” she said.
Lowell has been charged with attempted murder and felonious assault. Her bond has been set at $1 million.
As it turns out, Lowell has a lengthy rap sheet that includes other acts of violence surrounding fur, as well as a history of treatment for mental illness.
In 2012, Lowell used social media several times to attempt to hire a hit man to kill someone wearing fur. An undercover FBI agent posed as a hit man and set up a sting. After her arrest, Lowell was ordered to undergo psychological evaluations.
While in custody, Lowell allegedly handed a note to a guard saying that, if she were freed, she would still try again to hire a hit man to kill a fur-wearing person, or even try to kill a fur-wearing person herself.
A forensic evaluation later determined that, though she was mentally incompetent to stand trial, she was not a danger to herself or others and was allowed to return to the community.