Two female Canadian visitors were fatally stabbed by a woman Monday even as an Atlantic City police officer rushed to intervene, officials said.
Police Officer Jacob Abbruscato jumped out of his patrol car and drew his weapon Monday morning after seeing a woman stabbing another woman on Pacific Avenue between Michigan and Ohio avenues, police said.
Abbruscato ordered the attacker, identified as Antoinette E. Pelzer, 44, of Philadelphia, to drop the weapon. Pelzer did and was taken into custody, police said.
AtlanticCity911 has published the 911 call on the attack. To hear it, click here
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus is less than a half-block from the scene; ambulance personnel administered first aid to the women, 80 and 47. Both were pronounced dead Monday afternoon at the medical center.
The victims have not yet been identified pending notification of next of kin, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said.
Pelzer is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, plus weapons offenses and robbery, Housel said. Bail was set at $2 million, and Pelzer was brought in to the Atlantic County jail Tuesday morning.
Housel said he expected to upgrade the charges against Pelzer because the women have since died.
The women were alive, but in serious condition, when they were taken to the hospital, he said.
Atlantic City Sgt. Monica McMenamin said Abbruscato was patroling the 1900 block of Pacific Avenue when he saw Pelzer stabbing the women.
McMenamin said witnesses initially reported an attempted robbery to police. The stabbings appeared unprovoked, police said.
The attack remains under investigation by the Major Crimes Unit of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic City Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, Housel said.
Monday’s stabbings were the seventh and eighth homicides in Atlantic City this year.
Most recently, Atlantic City resident Siddiqah Bryant, 23, was found dead last week inside a parked car in the 1800 block of Artic Avenue behind the Atlantic City Bus Terminal. Autopsy results for Bryant indicate she was strangled.
Monday’s attack occurred between the Bally’s Atlantic City Bus Center and the hospital, an area that is part of the Atlantic City Tourism District.
“This was a random and bizarre act of violence,” said Tom Gilbert, commander of the Tourism District. “The Atlantic City Police Department and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to partner and identify all of the facts of what took place and why it took place.”
He said Abbruscato’s quick response shows that police are watching the area.
About five hours after the attack, the area where the stabbings occurred was bustling as usual with city visitors entering and exiting the bus center and a hot dog vendor stationed nearby on North Michigan Avenue.
Monday’s stabbings occurred exactly two years after Martin Caballero was abducted from the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort parking garage and later killed.
Staff Writer Lynda Cohen contributed to this report.
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