A 24-year-old woman unleashed a can of pepper spray in a popular downtown
Riverside coffee shop, resulting in minor injuries to her and five customers,
The incident happened at 6:12 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at Back to the Grind in the 3500 block of University Avenue. The business was closed for the rest of the night for cleanup.
The five customers were treated at the scene for minor chemical irritation and released, said Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief Bob Valdez. The woman with the pepper spray was taken to the hospital after complaining of apparently minor injuries she said she sustained when customers subdued her, Valdez said.
No information was available on whether she was arrested. Her name was not been released.
It was her third visit to Back to the Grind in the past six months, said manager Talene Salmaszadeh. The two previous visits ended when the woman was asked to leave for acting erratically, Salmaszadeh said.
During the second visit about two months ago, the woman appeared to be preparing to deface a painting, the manager said.
Thursday's incident happened after the woman parked her car facing the wrong way along University Avenue and entered the restaurant toting pepper spray, a metal baseball bat, and a knife, Salmaszadeh said.
The woman tapped on a glass counter, and then used the ball bat to smash two large panes of glass on another counter, Salmaszadeh said. At that point, an employee called police while customers confronted and detained her.
"She pepper sprayed them," Salmaszadeh said of three customers. "She asked one of the guys who was holding her to ... loosen his grip. And (when he complied), she grabbed for a knife she had in her pocket.
"They got the knife away from her and held her until the fire department arrived."
Firefighters used large fans to ventilate the building and clear out the fumes. But the incident left portions of the tempered glass counters shattered into tiny pieces, requiring an extensive cleanup, Salmaszadeh said.
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