U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski was mugged in front of her Fells Point rowhouse Sunday night and apparently injured her hand when she tried to fend off the attacker who pushed her to the ground and stole her purse.
The Maryland Democrat, described as "pained and angered" by the incident, canceled her only scheduled public appearance yesterday and sought treatment at Union Memorial Hospital's hand clinic.
A spokeswoman said the 59-year-old senator was "exhausted" and did not want to talk about the attack, about 11:45 p.m. in the 600 block of S. Ann St., where the lifelong Baltimore resident has lived for the past two decades.
A police report says that, despite her 4-foot-11-inch stature, she pushed the 6-foot-2-inch attacker after he shoved her to the ground.
"She's mighty courageous," said City Councilman John L. Cain, a 1st District Democrat who represents the Fells Point area.
Ms. Mikulski's spokeswoman, Rachel Kunzler, said the senator was attacked moments after parking her car near her home when returning from a late dinner -- not an unusual occurrence given the late meetings and sessions she attends.
According to the police report, Ms. Mikulski had just left her car when a man wearing a blue sweat suit shoved her to the ground and grabbed her purse, hanging on her right shoulder. She tried to push the man way, but he took her purse and ran north on Ann Street toward Fleet Street.
Minutes later, police recovered the black handbag under a car parked in a lot a block away, in the 600 block of S. Register St. Police said $40 and three travelers checks worth $120 were missing. Other items, including keys and credit cards, still were in the bag.
Police yesterday said they had no suspects. The senator could not give a detailed description. She told officers that "she did not believe that she would be able to identify" the man because the attack "occurred so quickly."
Ms. Mikulski complained of pain in her left hand and a police officer drove her to Mercy Medical Center, where a police report says she was treated for a dislocated -- and possibly broken -- ring finger.
A statement released by the senator's office says Ms. Mikulski dislocated her left hand. She was wearing a sling yesterday.
Her spokeswoman said Ms. Mikulski kept two appointments but canceled a ribbon cutting at the new $21 million Maryland BioCenter, at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Fells Point is the same neighborhood where she began her political career successfully fighting a highway extension through the waterfront community in the 1970s.
The neighborhood is best known for its late-night tavern-hopping crowd, coffee houses and restaurants. But police said South Ann Street is not affected by the young, rowdy beer drinkers that have caused problems for residents.
Southeastern Police Lt. Allen Kogut said the streets around Ms. Mikulski's home are in "one of the safest neighborhoods in the district."
The senator's spokeswoman said Ms. Mikulski has no plans to move. "That's the neighborhood she saved," Ms. Kunzler said.