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Witness watched helplessly as woman stabbed shopper at Target in West Hollywood

May 3, 2010 |  4:56 pm

Allison McNamara had just been looking at sunglasses on her day off.

McNamara rounded the corner of one of the aisles and encountered a screaming woman in the aisle that separates the skin care and kitchen sections.

“She was yelling, ‘I’m bi-polar. There’s no witness protection program.' ”

McNamara, an entertainment reporter, saw the woman, whom she described as tall and gaunt with a shock of bright red hair, plunging a knife into the upper back and shoulder of a male shopper. He had crouched down and was trying to fend off the blows.

“You could see where the knife was going into his back. The knife had ridges and a tag on it. She was going as fast and strong as she could. Four to six inches were covered in blood. She looked like she was going to stab everyone there,” McNamara said. 

Moments later the woman looked right at McNamara, who sprinted out of the store along with other shoppers and employees.

L.A. County sheriff's detectives are trying to determine why the assailant attacked four people, one of whom is in critical condition.

The assailant was identified as Layla Rosetta Trawick, 35, from Antioch, Calif., authorities said. She was stopped by an off-duty deputy shopping at the store, Clay Grant Jr., who is assigned to the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, Capt. Michael Parker said.

“We are exceptionally proud of Deputy Grant,” Parker said. “The reason why this tragic situation wasn’t worse was because of the quick thinking of an armed, off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was willing to risk his life to end this situation.”

-- Andrew Blankstein