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Prosecutors: Man charged in flower shop attack claimed to be deaf

A 24-year-old West Side man charged with stabbing a Wicker Park flower shop employee in the head and arm claimed to be deaf and communicated in writing before attacking her and robbing the store, prosecutors said.

Alexander Hampton, of the 3300 block of West Douglas Boulevard, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail in a hearing before Cook County Criminal Court Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil. Hampton us accused of using a cutting instrument from the flower shop and a pocket knife to stab the female employee on Feb. 16.

The man was not armed when he entered the Asrai Garden floral shop, 1935 W. North Ave. on Thursday morning,  police said.

In the flower shop, Hampton communicated to the employee, age 28, that he was deaf, and The victim gave him a pen and paper and he said he wanted to buy flowers for his girlfriend, said Tandra Simonton, a spokewoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.  The woman then began telling him the prices of various flowers.

Hampton then wrote a note containing a vulgarity, and the woman told him to leave, Simonton said. Hampton used a note to announce the robbery, according to police. Hampton grabbed the woman by the neck and pushed her into a bathroom in the back of the store.

The woman lost consciousness and found Hampton standing over her, prosecutors said.

Hampton demanded money, but was dissatisfied with how much he got from the woman, and they began fighting.

The woman fought back, and while they were fighting, Hampton picked up a scissors or shears inside the shop and slashed her face, police said.

Hampton also cut the woman on the let hand, between the index finger and the pinky, severing a tendon.

While they were fighting, Hampton also opened a pocket knife with his teeth and stabbed the woman in the neck, causing the knife to stick there, prosecutors said. The woman was able to get the pocket knife out of her neck and flee locked herself inside a bathroom, and the robber used the handle of a mop to bang on the door while “trying to get at her,’’ police said.

He gave up, grabbed $100 from the register and an iPod from the woman’s purse, prosecutors said.

The employee was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Her injuries were not life threatening.

Hampton was arrested Feb. 20, according to police. Police said the robbery appeared to be a random “crime of opportunity’’ and was unrelated to other recent muggings and robberies in the area.

Video surveillance from a nearby business showed Hampton walking toward the shop, and more surveillance video from another business showed him in the second store, prosecutors said.

The victim identified Hampton in a lineup. He is due back in court on March 12.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com

Twitter: @chicagobreaking

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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