Erica Latrice Johnson: Woman charged with assault after panhandling incident in Port St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE — An attempt to help a panhandler turned violent in the parking lot of a gas station Tuesday night.

According to Port St. Lucie Police , Erica Latrice Johnson, 36, homeless, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, felony criminal mischief, attempted escape, resisting an officer without violence, and reckless driving after she reportedly attacked a woman who was offering her help.

Port St. Lucie Police went to a gas station in the 3000 block of Southwest Port St. Lucie Boulevard at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday in response to a panic alarm. Officers learned that Johnson had been panhandling in the parking lot when a 52-year-old woman approached Johnson and her boyfriend, asking if they needed help or money.

When Johnson became irate and started throwing miscellaneous items at the victim, the woman retreated to her truck, police said. Johnson then got into her car and rammed the victim’s truck. The victim then ran inside the gas station. That’s when Johnson took a bottle of bleach and poured it on the victim’s truck, said police.

Johnson’s 25-year-old boyfriend followed the victim into the gas station and confronted her.

Police found Johnson outside the door, screaming at the victim, who was inside the store. After a slight struggle, police placed Johnson in handcuffs and secured her in the rear of the patrol car. Johnson slipped out of the handcuffs off and started banging on the window of the cruiser, police said.

After officers re-secured Johnson in handcuffs, she was taken to the St. Lucie County Jail.

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