ARBUTUS, Md. --
A fight between two women inside a Baltimore County Walmart Supercenter led to the store's evacuation Saturday and the hospitalization of 19 people.
Police, firefighters and hazardous materials crews were called to the store on Washington Boulevard in Arbutus shortly before 11 a.m. for an assault call.
Police Officer Shawn Vinson said Theresa Monique Jefferson, 33, of Halethorpe, followed another woman into the store, assaulted her, and poured bleach and ammonia on her.
Investigators said the assault stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the women, saying the victim's boyfriend has a child in common with the suspect.
"The suspect grabbed whatever she could grab from the aisle at the time," Vinson said. "She ended up grabbing bleach and a bottle of ammonia as she was assaulting the victim down on the ground and continued to pour these on her."
"The problem was, with bleach and ammonia in a closed environment, they can be strong irritants to the eye and to the respiratory passages. So, at that standpoint and after we were getting a lot of calls from inside the store, it was best to call the hazardous materials team and evacuate the store," said Glenn Blackwell, director of the Baltimore County Fire Department Fire-Rescue Academy.
Authorities said Jefferson left the store and went to the Baltimore County Police Department's Wilkens Precinct, where whe was placed under arrest.
Fire officials said 19 people were taken to hospitals as a result of the incident, including a store employee. One person was taken to the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, and the other 18 people were taken to Baltimore-Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie; Northwest Hospital in Randallstown; Harbor Hospital and St. Agnes Hospital both in Baltimore City.
"We transported 19 patients, none of them with what we believe to be serious injuries except one patient who was transported with bleach to the eye," Blackwell said.
The condition of the victim was not immediately known.
Jefferson was charged with first- and second-degree assault, theft under $100 and malicious destruction of property. She remained held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $350,000 bail.
Hazardous materials crews examined the store after employees cleaned the area. The store reopened at about 1 p.m.
Walmart released a statement saying they do not expect this type of behavior from its customers and apologized for any inconvenience.
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