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Woman charged with second-degree assault after knife attack

BEMIDJI—A woman has been charged with second-degree assault after she allegedly attacked another woman through a partially opened vehicle window with a knife.

The alleged assault was reported at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the 500 block of 24th Street NW.

According to court documents, a Bemidji police officer arrived at the scene in response to a call of an assault and attempted burglary. The officer arrived to find a woman in the driver's seat of an SUV who had "blood on her face, neck, arm and hands."

The victim, identified as "A.O.," told police she was driving by when she saw two people breaking into a home that she knew to be vacant. She reportedly asked the people what they were doing, after which one of the two women, Verna Fairbanks, 19, approached the vehicle and threatened A.O., according to court documents.

Verna Fairbanks

Fairbanks then reached through the window and grabbed the victim by the hair and started stabbing and slashing at her with the knife, according to the documents.

The victim tried blocking the assault, and the knife fell out of Fairbanks' hand into the vehicle.

There were passengers in the SUV during the assault, including the victim's 12-year-old son. When two of the male passengers got out of the vehicle, Fairbanks and the other woman who allegedly had been breaking into the home's garage took off on foot toward a local restaurant.

Another officer responded to the restaurant, when he noticed the open door of the women's restroom. One of the two women in the restroom had blood on her chest and there was a pink shirt on the counter, according to the documents. The assailant had been described as wearing a pink shirt.

As the officer detained the two women, Fairbanks "began spontaneously saying that she previously had a knife and cut another woman," according to the documents. Fairbanks, who has no known address, was charged with felony second degree assault. It is unknown if the other woman faces any charges in the incident.

Jordan Shearer

Jordan Shearer covers crime and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. A Rochester native and Bemidji State grad, he previously spent several years in western Nebraska writing for the Keith County News. Follow him on Twitter @Jmanassa

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