CLEVELAND – A woman allegedly stabbed by her best friend during an argument while sitting behind the wheel of a car tried to drive away and struck her attacker's 2-year-old daughter, authorities said Friday. The woman and the girl both died.
The toddler's mother, Kimberly Black, 29, of Cleveland, was found naked several blocks away and was arrested.
The death of Sharice Swain, 29, of Cleveland, was being investigated as a homicide. Police identified the other victim as Kimshia Ruffin. Her 1-year-old sibling, Taraji Ruffin, also was struck, but the injuries apparently were not life-threatening.
During the argument Thursday night, Black left the vehicle, went into her house and returned with a knife, according to police, and stabbed Swain in the face and neck.
According to police spokesman Sgt. Sammy Morris, Swain then stepped on the gas pedal and hit the two children. The car also struck a house, collapsing the roof of the porch.
The nature of the argument involving Black and Swain wasn't disclosed, and it wasn't clear if Swain hit the children intentionally or accidentally.
The women were "best friends since birth" and Swain considered Black a cousin, according to the victim's mother, Anita Swain.
Anita Swain said her daughter did not have any children and was employed as a factory worker. She said she didn't know what started the argument and declined to comment further.
Nikki Randall, 30, whose daughter goes to school with the suspect's 6-year-old daughter, said neighbors who went to the aid of Sharice Swain think Black was the intended target of the revving vehicle.
"It was on purpose," Randall said. "She was actually trying to hit the momma."
According to Randall, the naked Black was holding her two injured toddlers after they were struck and dropped Kimshia. Randall said she picked up the bloodied Kimshia and cradled her in her arms until firefighters arrived and took over.
"She was bleeding out of everywhere," Randall said. "As soon as I handed her to the paramedic, she went limp."
Black apparently had taken off her clothes after the stabbing, authorities said. She was treated for a hand injury at MetroHealth Medical Center and then was arrested and locked up pending possible charges.
According to court records, Swain pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2005 and to permitting drug abuse in 2007. Both times she was placed on probation.
Down the block from the stabbing, Julius Jackson shook his head in disbelief over the attack and subsequent accident as he watered his newly planted vegetable garden.
"Oh, man, it's shocking to me," said Jackson, who said he keeps to himself in a neighborhood where people frequently move in and out.
The arrest occurred in an impoverished neighborhood a half block away from the location of the now-demolished house where the remains of 11 murdered women were found in 2009. The killer, Anthony Sowell, is appealing his murder conviction and death sentence.
Associated Press Writer Ann Sanner in Columbus contributed to this report.