Fort Henry Mall attack nets attempted kidnapping charge

Rain Smith • Jul 19, 2019 at 12:45 PM

KINGSPORT — A woman was jailed Thursday after allegedly forcing her way into a closed store at the Fort Henry Mall, dragging an employee into the hallway, then crashing into a display, scattering merchandise.

A Kingsport Police Department incident report lists the suspect and victim as strangers, with no possible motive cited. However, questioning of Amanda M. Ball, 40, reportedly solicited nonsensical answers, spurring police to speculate that she was on narcotics.

According to KPD records, the incident occurred at Claire’s at about 9 a.m. A female employee, 37, rolled up the security gate for her husband, as he had arrived to pick up keys.

At that time, an unknown woman walked toward the store in a “frantic and erratic manner.” The man used his arm to keep her from entering Claire’s, but she allegedly reached in, grabbed the female employee and “began to drag her out into the main hallway.”

The victim told police she tried to fight back against the attacker, later identified as Ball, but it was difficult due to Ball’s larger stature. The employee was reportedly dragged next door to Nutty Java, then back to Claire’s. There, Ball pulled the employee back into the store, and the women fell into a display rack.

With both women on the ground, Ball allegedly wrapped her arms and legs around the victim and squeezed. The man was able to pry Ball off his wife and get her out of the store, where police arrived to find him pinning her to the ground.

When officers walked Ball to a squad car, she tensed her body and refused to enter, forcing officers to physically load her into the back. She was jailed on two counts of assault, attempted kidnapping, public intoxication, vandalism and resisting arrest.

The victim’s shirt and sweater were ripped during the incident, and her smartwatch was broken. EMS responded to check redness on her neck and arms, but she was not transported to a hospital.