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North Side woman charged with assaulting Pittsburgh teacher with brick

Megan Guza
| Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 10:33 a.m.
Daishonta Williams, assault suspect
Allegheny County Jail
Daishonta Williams, assault suspect
Assault victim Janice Watkins
Assault victim Janice Watkins

A North Side woman told Pittsburgh police that she followed and assaulted her daughter's elementary school teacher Wednesday near the West End Bridge because she believed the teacher tried to choke her child, according to court records.

Daishonta Williams, 29, is charged with stalking, aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and reckless endangerment.

Williams was called to Pittsburgh King PreK-8 on Monday by her daughter's teacher, Janice Watkins. Williams's daughter allegedly bit Watkins when Watkins tried to take a cell phone from her.

Williams's daughter claimed that Watkins tried to choke her, according to the criminal complaint. Williams became upset and, as she left, referred to Watkins and said, “She is going to get it later,” police said.

Watkins told police she left the Allegheny Center school and was sitting in traffic near the West End Bridge with her window down when she saw a man and woman approach her car. She said the woman threw a brick through the open window, hitting her in the face and knocking out a tooth.

Paramedics transported Watkins to Allegheny General Hospital. She has since been released.

According to a criminal complaint, the woman — identified later as Williams by police and Watkins — pulled the teacher from the car and began punching and kicking her. She and the man then took off.

Later, police found Williams sitting on the steps of her North Charles Street home, according to the complaint.

The complaint said that when officers asked Williams about the incident, she replied, “I ain't going to lie, I did it.”

Police said Williams admitted only to following Watkins from the school and to punching her. She said she did not use a brick.

Williams's boyfriend, Vincent Beasley, told police that he was with Williams during the assault but said he tried only to break up the incident and did not participate, according to the complaint.

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, called the attack the most appalling incident she's had to address during her tenure as president.

“Words are not enough to express my horror about the brutal attack on one of our own yesterday,” Esposito-Visgitis said in a statement. She called Watkins a dedicated teacher and magnificent person.

“I know acts of violence like this do not represent our kids or our parents, but it is beyond unacceptable,” she said.

She noted that while the alleged assault did not happen on school grounds, it was directly connected to an in-school incident.

“I am urging our members to take whatever precautions are necessary to help protect themselves,” she said.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials released a statement Thursday morning condemning the violence against the teacher.

District spokeswoman Ebony Pugh called the assault horrifying.

“Violence of any kind against a PPS staff member or citizen is unacceptable,” Pugh said in a statement.

“We know the individuals involved in yesterday's incident do not represent the many great parents and families who choose Pittsburgh Public Schools for the education of their children,” she said.

Williams is in the Allegheny County Jail. She was unable to post bail on a $50,000 bond, according to court records.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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