Church shelter worker stabbed, resident charged

Jermaine Tart

Jermaine Tart

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A worker at a homeless shelter was stabbed Sunday evening in Winston-Salem and a resident has been charged.

Police say shelter monitor Richard Cassidy, 45, was escorting patrons into the shelter at the First Presbyterian Church on Marshall Street around 8 p.m. Sunday when he was attacked.

Police say the man who attacked Cassidy was at the church to seek shelter.

Police identified the suspect as Jermaine Antwan Tart, 32. Tart is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

The victim was taken to Baptist Hospital with serious injuries. He is listed in good condition as of 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The motive for the attack is unknown.

Russ May is a Moravian Pastor who leads Anthony’s Plot, one of the ministries that helps coordinate the overflow shelter at First Presbyterian.

“Not just us who work at the overflow shelter, but guests and volunteers are obviously upset by what happened,” May said on Monday.

May said Cassidy is doing well, and they hope he will be able to go home from the hospital by Tuesday.

Cassidy had a lot of visitors at the hospital, May added, and they have been praying together for Jermaine Tart.

“We would never think this sort of thing would happen, but we do understand what the people we work with are dealing with. Richard feels like it is his calling for him to work with the homeless,” said May.

May explained Cassidy and Tart were having a great conversation on the way to the overflow shelter. They are not sure what caused Tart to suddenly act violently.

May said the two have interacted on several other occasions. He called the stabbing a “rare event” in their line of work.

“The bigger picture is understanding how a community engages and cares for its most vulnerable citizens,” said May. “Richard and I are not mental health experts, but we try to understand what people in our community are going through.”

May said they will continue offering the overflow shelter as planned through the end of March.

The goal is to offer a warm place to stay and a meal during the cold months.

May is confident Cassidy will continue working with the community, and they are asking prayers for all of the shelter’s workers and guests.

Anyone with information as to this crime is asked to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.

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