SALEM, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Police on Thursday were searching for a woman who was allegedly videotaped viciously beating another woman, as the victim's 2-year-old son tried to defend her.
As CSB 2's Dave Carlin reported, the victim said it all started with gossip at the workplace. But she never thought it would end in a hospital.
The video shows the suspect, dressed in a McDonald's uniform, pummeling the mother in the face and kicking her in the back along a trail behind a McDonald's in Salem on Tuesday night as several bystanders watch and videotape the attack.
The victim, identified as 27-year-old Catherine Ferreira, falls to the ground and while on the ground, the suspect punches the victim approximately 20 times.
The suspect is also heard threatening to attack the victim's 2-year-old son, Xavion, who kicked the suspect's legs in an attempt to stop the attack.
At one point during the video, the suspect can be heard saying: "You better get your son before I kick him in the face too!"
At the end of the video, the suspect leans in and appears to spit on the victim while she was on the ground.
"I could have been dead right now. Had she hit me in the right spot, it would have been over -- over nothing. McDonald's isn't worth it; a guy isn't worth it. This is more serious than you're even comprehending," Ferreira told KYW-TV, CBS 3 in Philadelphia.
On her 2-year-old son fighting Harris and being the only one to try to intervene, Ferreira told CBS Philly: "After that I became so much closer to my son because he didn't care what was going on. He wasn't afraid, he just wanted to defend his mom. That's my world right there, I love that boy so much."
WARNING: Video contains extreme violence and profane language
Police Chief John Pelura III said Thursday that his department is searching for 25-year-old Latia Harris. She faces charges of aggravated assault and two counts of terroristic threats upon apprehension, CBS Philly reported.
Ferreira used to work at the same McDonald's. She told KYW-TV the fight was over workplace gossip, and she admitted she talked to others about Harris' romantic life. But she said she never expected what ended up happening.
"I went in there for a cheeseburger – a cheeseburger," Ferreira said.
While the assault was videotaped, police said no one called 911 to report it. Investigators learned of it later.
Police called it disgusting that witnesses appeared to do nothing to stop the fight, even though they could see the victim's young son in danger.
Pelura said authorities had an address for Harris but she was not there. Police obtained the video before it was removed from Facebook.
Harris has not reported to work since the assault, CBS Philly reported.
McDonald's franchise owner and operator Jim Burgala issued a statement, saying Harris will not be returning to work while the police investigation continues.
"I am aware of the incident involving one of my employees earlier this week. I am extremely disturbed by this kind of behavior and it goes against the values and standards that I expect from my employees in my restaurants," Burlaga said in the statement. "This employee will not be serving customers pending this important police investigation and I'm fully cooperating with the local police in this matter."
Anyone with information on the location of Harris is asked to call Salem Police at (856) 935-0057.
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