Police are searching for a woman seen on an amateur video savagely beating another woman as the victim's 2-year-old son watched and pleaded for the violence to stop.
NJ.com: Authorities continued their search Thursday for a suspect captured on amateur video repeatedly beating a woman as the victim's toddler son watched and bystanders did nothing to intervene and stop the attack.
The victim was left with limited vision in her left eye and she was also threatened with being shot during the attack, according to the warrant issued for the suspect, Latia Harris, 25, of Salem.
The video, briefly posted on Facebook, shows the victim's 2-year-old young son trying to protect his mother by kicking her assailant inthe attack which took place Tuesday night.
"... this video is physically sickening to watch," said Salem City Chief of Police John Pelura III.
Pelura said Harris remained at large Thursday morning. Harris is an employee at McDonald's, where she encountered the victim. The subsequent attack occurred while she was on duty and after she followed the victim out of the store, according to police.
"Her whereabouts are unknown, but we are actively seeking her," Pelura said. The chief said when police went to her last known address — a Salem City Housing Authority complex on Anderson Drive — it was "vacant."
Harris is facing charges of aggravated assault and two counts of making terroristic threats.
Additional charges could also be filed against her, Pelura said.
In the warrant issued for her arrest, authorities charge Harris attempted to "cause significant bodily injury" to the victim "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
Police said that the beating left the victim, a 27-year-old Salem resident, with "limited function" of her left eye, numerous contusions and a broken nose.
It says that Harris also was "threatening to shoot the victim while punching her about the face."
The warrant also charges her with attempting to kick the victim's son in the face.
Pelura said the victim, whose name has not been released, told police a woman named "Tia" who works at McDonald's on East Broadway in the city assaulted her and "accused her of spreading rumors about her (Harris) and her manager." In the video the suspect is dressed in what appears to be a McDonald's restaurant employee uniform — a burgundy shirt and black pants.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon by McDonald's corporate office, owner/operator of the Salem restaurant Jim Burlaga said he was aware of the incident involving his employee.
"I am extremely disturbed by this kind of behavior and it goes against the values and standards that I expect from
my employees in my restaurants.
"This employee will not be serving customers pending this important police investigation and I'm fully cooperating with the local police in this matter," he added.
The assault took place Tuesday evening around 7 p.m. on a path that leads through a grassy and partially wooded area between the McDonald's and the Harvest Point Apartments on Grieves Parkway.
At one point the suspect threatens to strike the victim's young son.
The video has drawn attention from news outlets in the United States and beyond.
Pelura said the circumstances around this incident are disturbing.
"There is a moral and social breakdown in the fabric of our society which is clearly evident when a woman gets pummeled in broad daylight in front of her child while a dozen people pull out their phones to record the incident instead of calling for help," Pelura said. "There is so little regard for human life — by the actor and the bystanders."
The victim, who was left bloodied after being beaten — mostly about the face — was taken to The Memorial Hospital of Salem County, Mannington Township for treatment. Authorities were alerted after receiving a call from someone at the guardhouse outside of Harvest Point Apartments.
Police say Harris has not shown up at her job at McDonald's since the attack. The manager at McDonald's declined to comment and a request for comment from corporate has not been returned.
Police say they are now trying to locate Harris through family members. Bail has been set at $35,000.
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