Security Guards Cut Days before Camden Office Stabbing

Security Guards Cut Days before Camden Office Stabbing

The head of a union that represents child welfare employees said the stabbing of a state caseworker in a Camden Office building came three days after security officers were redeployed from the location, according to a report.

Authorities said Camden resident Taisha Edwards, 30, went after the caseworker with a knife around 1 p.m. at a Haddon Avenue office. Edwards has a history of mental illness, police said. The victim, 29-year-old Leah Coleman, was stabbed more than 20 times, according to media reports.

Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson said Edwards used a 9-inch steak knife and called the attack "sudden and swift." Coleman suffered stab wounds to the face, chest and back.

Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Andy McNeil said other workers in the state office subdued the suspect, who was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

They have eliminated security for the most dangerous job in the state," said Hetty Rosenstein, area director for the Communications Workers of America.

Judith Meltzer, a monitor appointed to oversee New Jersey's child welfare system, said Tuesday morning she was looking into changes that resulted in Department of Human Services police being redeployed from the site.

But she added caseworkers thrust into volatile family situations need to feel safe.

"There's certainly a danger when something like this happens, given the amount of attention it will get, that it will have a chilling effect on the people willing to do this kind of work," Meltzer noted.

About the Author

Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.

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