Fred Meyer knife assault suspect charged with attempted murder

Fred Meyer Yakima

YAKIMA, Wash. — A 28-year-old man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder after police say he slashed an elderly woman’s neck in a Yakima grocery store.

Muhammad Haris Tariq, 28, was awaiting trial in the Yakima County jail for allegedly eluding police in April when he was sent to a local mental health facility last week for evaluation.

Less than a day after being transferred into the custody of Comprehensive Mental Health’s adult residential treatment facility, authorities said Tariq escaped in violation of the court order that had brought him there.

Yakima police said they were not informed of Tariq’s escape and did not know he was out of custody until responding to the incident at Fred Meyer.

A representative at Comprehensive Healthcare’s adult residential treatment facility has declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws.

According to police, Tariq walked into the grocery store about noon Saturday, stole a knife, walked up behind a 66-year-old woman who was shopping in the produce section and slashed her neck.

Police said Tariq walked out of the store calmly and did not speak to the woman — a stranger to him —prior to or after the attack.

Witnesses told police they saw Tariq holding the knife as he left and were able to get the license plate number from the vehicle he left in.

The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released. Police said she’s now recovering at home.

Later that evening, at about 8 p.m., police responded to reports of an unwanted guest at a home near Tieton Drive and Estes Road in West Valley. Officers recognized Tariq as the suspect from the earlier attack and arrested him.

Police said Tariq confirmed that it was him on the video, but declined to provide information about why he attacked the woman.

Tariq was previously convicted of fourth-degree assault for stabbing a family member during an argument in 2019. He was also found guilty of third-degree assault for swinging a Samurai sword at two women outside a fruit-packing warehouse in 2018.

Tariq has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and violating a domestic violence protection order. He’s being held in the Yakima County jail on $500,000 bail.