Charges: Knife-wielding woman terrorizes Tacoma neighbors

TACOMA, Wash. -- Exhibiting the kind of un-neighborly behavior that would give even Mister Rogers pause, a 52-year-old Tacoma woman was arrested Tuesday after terrorizing her fellow apartment residents with a steak knife, according to charges filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

According to the charging documents, a resident at the Willow Park Apartments heard someone kicking her door; she opened it to find her downstairs neighbor, Clara Mayes, holding a large steak knife and trying to force her way into the unit.

The resident and a visitor pushed the door closed and had to press their bodies against it to keep Mayes out, according to the charging documents.

The resident later told Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputies she had seen Mayes last week and she seemed normal; now she seemed possessed or on drugs.

A second resident woken up by someone kicking her door opened it to find Mayes standing there. According to the charging documents, she was about to ask what was wrong when Mayes forced her way inside.

Mayes reportedly swung her knife around the apartment, threw the resident's belongings everywhere and looked in cabinets before chasing the resident's dogs out of the unit.

According to the charging documents, a third resident was on the line with 911 after hearing someone kicking at her door when the door and door frame broke apart and Mayes entered the unit.

The resident told deputies Mayes had a blank look on her face as she rummaged around the apartment, opening the fridge and freezer, going through cupboards and looking under the bed and in the bathroom. The resident said she was "scared to death."

Deputies arrived to find Mayes standing outside one of the units with her hands in her pockets and a "thousand-yard stare." She complied when ordered to show her hands and drop the steak knife she was holding.

According to the charging documents, Mayes gave deputies a fake name and a blank look and refused to answer any questions. She was arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail.

Mayes has been charged with burglary, attempted burglary and malicious mischief.