March 06. 2014 8:07PM

Epping supermarket worker arrested after brutal break room attack on female coworker

Union Leader Correspondent

EPPING — A Market Basket employee who told police that "something evil came over him" is behind bars after he allegedly brutally attacked a female coworker in a break room for no apparent reason.

Samuel Woods, 20, of 153 Ash Swamp Road in Newmarket, was arrested Wednesday after police were called to the grocery store to investigate a report that a 17-year-old female employee had been choked and punched repeatedly in the face until she became unconscious.

"It was certainly a vicious, unprovoked attack," Epping police Capt. Jason Newman said Thursday.

The attack happened shortly after 5 p.m. while the teenager was in the break room on the second floor in the rear of the building, which is monitored by surveillance cameras.

The assault was caught on camera and the recording was reviewed by police.

According to the affidavit, the video shows the teenage worker sitting at a table eating while facing the hallway. At some point, Woods is seen entering the room and running toward the female with his "hands open in a choking fashion."

Woods then allegedly dove over the table and grabbed the teen by the neck, forcing her onto the floor.

He punched her "many times," police said. The video also shows the two rolling around the room.

After the attack, Woods went into a bathroom and then returned to the break room before exiting through the door, police said.

Once out of the room, police said Woods approached a second-floor platform near a stock room, removed his shoes, and jumped off the platform onto the concrete floor below. The drop was estimated to be about 18 feet. Police said his fall was broken by wooden dollies.

When police first arrived, they found Woods on the floor with blood under his head, the affidavit said.

The teenage victim, whose face was red and swollen, recalled little about the attack other than seeing a man running into the room and choking her. She told police that she had "blacked out."

According to the affidavit, Woods told Officer Jonathan Swift that "something evil came over him" when he attacked the coworker.

"Woods told Officer Swift that he may have had small talk (with the female) beforehand, but that she was polite and he had no reason to attack her," the affidavit said.

Woods told police that he didn't know the worker well, but did know her name.

He also explained that he has "had issues with women since he was young and has acted out violently before by attacking a teacher. He said he is under the care of a psychologist and is prescribed medication," the affidavit said.

Woods and the victim were transported to Exeter Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Woods was arraigned Thursday in the Brentwood Circuit Court on charges of second-degree assault, simple assault and reckless conduct. He was ordered held at the Rockingham County jail on $100,000 cash bail until he can be admitted to the state hospital for psychiatric treatment.

"We have reason to believe that this may be a mental health-related issue, but we're obligated to pursue the matter to protect the victim and the community nonetheless," Newman said.

Workers at the Epping Market Basket referred all questions to a company spokesman who could not be reached for comment.