Quick action by bystanders -- including a 62-year-old lawyer who played football for the University of Maryland -- was credited by police with saving the life of a woman as she was being attacked on a busy Towson street yesterday morning.
The woman, Lesley G. Dunlap, 24, of Hanover, was treated for stab wounds and released from Sinai Hospital.
"Several witnesses ... came to her aid with no thought for their own safety," said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman. "We firmly believe had they not intervened, she would not have survived the attack."
A man identified by police as an ex-boyfriend of Dunlap, Jeffrey Ricardo Jones Jr., 25, of Parkville, was arrested later yesterday on a warrant charging him with attempted murder, kidnapping and related counts, according to police. He had been convicted in a 2002 assault on Dunlap, who obtained a protective order against him last month after alleging that he threatened her with a knife at her office.
Police said yesterday's incident began as Dunlap pulled into the parking lot at the law firm Venable LLP, where she works as a receptionist and assistant librarian.
The assailant pulled in behind her and blocked her car with his Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle, police said. He smashed her window with a hammer, pulled her out of her car and forced her into his SUV, Warehime said.
He drove down an alley toward Joppa Road but was forced to stop for traffic, giving Dunlap time to jump from the car, police said.
Police said the assailant got out as well, and the two were tussling in the 200 block of W. Joppa Road when John J. Kenny, a local lawyer who was a linebacker and end for Maryland in 1964 and 1965, saw them.
Kenny, who has practiced law for 35 years and is with Kenny & Vettori, was walking from his Washington Avenue law office to 8:30 a.m. Mass at nearby Immaculate Conception Church. He said he was about to cross Joppa Road when he saw a man pummeling someone up the street.
Kenny, who stands 6 feet 1 and weighs about 205 pounds, said he shouted to a bystander, ran toward the assailant and grabbed him from behind. He said he saw the man reach for his left pocket and, worried that the assailant had a knife, grabbed his left hand. As it turned out, the man had the weapon in his right hand and began stabbing Dunlap, Kenny said.
The second bystander hit the attacker with a fire extinguisher, Kenny said. The assailant got into the Tahoe and drove off, leaving a bleeding Dunlap behind, Kenny said.
The assailant was "trying to kill her," Kenny said.
"It was like he could kill her," he said. "I couldn't believe this big guy was beating on this woman."
A lawyer at Venable, C. Carey Deeley Jr., lauded Kenny and the other man, whom police did not identify, for their quick action.
"Her friends here at the firm are so thankful for the intervention of the bystanders and especially John Kenny," Deeley said. "We are just so thankful that the circumstances were not worse."
Dunlap, a Towson University graduate, has worked at the firm for the past year and is known as a "bright, young, energetic employee," he said.
Police began searching for Jones after the attack and alerted Prince George's County authorities after discovering that he had relatives there, said Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman.
Prince George's sheriff's officers were watching a house on Lumar Drive in Fort Washington and arrested Jones when he walked outside, got into a Tahoe and began to drive off, Toohey said.
Jones was convicted in a 2002 assault on Dunlap at the Cockeysville apartment where they were living. She said the assault was sparked by an argument and talk of ending their relationship, according to court documents.
Late last month, Dunlap took out a protective order against Jones and again accused him of assault after she said he came to Venable and threatened her with a knife, according to a May 31 court filing. In a handwritten statement of charges, she said that attack took place three days after she broke up with Jones. That case is scheduled for trial in August.