Car accident led up to fight ending in stabbing at Family Dollar

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, May 20, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- News 12 is learning more about the fight that led to a stabbing at a Family Dollar over the weekend. It happened at the store on Deans Bridge Road Saturday night.

Tonya Terry is still in the hospital with multiple stab wounds, but investigators say she's not the victim in this case. They say the real victim here is 27-year-old India Upshaw.

Deputies say Upshaw was being assaulted by Terry, the woman in the hospital, and after Upshaw tried several times to get away, stabbed Terry in self-defense.

It was a loud fight between two women at this Family Dollar that ended with one woman getting stabbed.

"Ms. Upshaw continued to tell Ms. Terry, look I've got a knife, leave me alone. I've got a knife, leave me alone," said Sgt. Shane McDaniel with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

The Family Dollar may have been where the fight ended, but deputies say problems between the two women started hours earlier somewhere else.

Investigators say the fight actually started earlier in the day on the road when the ladies got into a car accident. It wasn't until later in the day when they bumped into each other at the Family Dollar when things escalated quickly.

"During the course of the altercation, Ms. Upshaw became concerned, went inside the Family Dollar, asked management to dial 911. She exited the store in an attempt to leave. At that time, she was confronted a second time," McDaniel said.

This happened three times before the verbal fight became physical.

"Ms. Terry grabbed Ms. Upshaw by the head of the hair and drug her outside where it really got heavy. At that time, Ms. Upshaw started to defend herself and started using the knife," McDaniel said.

Investigators say they believe Upshaw was acting in self-defense.

Tommy Reid comes to the store every day. He says he can understand why someone would be forced to defend themselves.

"All this stuff on Riverwalk that happened, and downtown, people are just scared, especially the women, you know. You walk there and somebody gonna threaten you, what you gonna do?" Reid said.

"That's everybody's right. Everyone is allowed to use self-defense to protect themselves or someone else," McDaniel said.

At last check, Terry is still in the hospital in critical condition. Upshaw is cooperating with the investigation. At this point, neither woman has been charged.

Deputies say they're giving Terry some time to go through her procedures at the hospital, and so far, they believe Upshaw was acting in self-defense.

But deputies said it is still an open investigation and that could still change.

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