Hometown Barbershop barber Liz Hawkins, who suffered stab wounds on Friday at the Main Street shop after an incident involving a co-worker, shared her account of what happened, saying she was in “total shock and disbelief” at the “unprovoked” attack and that her unborn child remains healthy despite her injuries.
Hawkins shared details via a social media post and, after being contacted by the Independent, messaged that she was OK with publicizing it, as she is too weak to respond to all the people who have reached out to her.
Hawkins wrote that she was cleaning up the shop at about 4:45 p.m. Friday, preparing to go home for the evening, She was there with two other barbers, both with clients in their chairs.
One of the barbers, David Martinez, then “walked up behind me and stabbed me with his shears in my back twice,” she wrote. “Once with the shears open and another time closed. It honestly felt like he had punched me really hard, as he works out at an MMA [mixed martial arts] gym.
“In total shock and disbelief, as I am 12 weeks pregnant with my husband and I’s first child, and because this was completely and totally unprovoked I rightfully started screaming, ‘I am pregnant! What the [expletive] is happening?!’ It is then that I saw a trail of my blood throughout the shop from his shears as he paced around like a rabid animal.
“The man proceeded to yell, ‘You guys have me buggin’ out!’ Then pointing to thin air said, ‘He’s wearing red, he’s wearing blue, him yellow!’
“The other barber, John, and myself are obviously in a state of disbelief and shock. Mind you, this person had worked with us since September and had never once exhibited this kind of behavior.
“This past week I had noticed how quiet and zoned out he had been, and all yesterday he had kept excusing himself with clients in his chair to go to the back [of the shop]. I have no idea why, but I’m sure it’s pertinent to his behavior.
“This person’s client [whose] hair he had just been cutting three minutes ago sprung from his chair, as well as John’s, and had no idea what to do. None of us did. There was a father and his teenage son waiting in our lounge area as well, by some miracle this gentleman is a cardiac nurse.
“Everyone sprung into action, from applying towels to the stab wounds, to calling 911, to following David Martinez outside to make sure he didn’t try to flee. Hopkinton’s law enforcement as well as the Ashland Fire Department and EMTs arrived within 10 minutes, shutting down the busy chunk of Main Street that our shop is located on. These incredible first responders, one of whom coincidentally is a client of the shop’s, prepared me to be transported to UMass [Memorial Medical Center in Worcester] about 30 minutes away.”
Hawkins indicated her baby was foremost on her mind at the time.
“While the pain and discomfort was blinding, all I could cry about was my baby. Was my baby OK?” she wrote.
Hawkins soon learned that her baby was not injured.
“I believe in the universe as my higher power, but I rejoiced in God and every entity possible when they found my uterus was in no way harmed and the baby’s heartbeat was normal,” she wrote. “This person punctured my colon in two different spots, as well as my diaphragm and nicked my spleen.”
Hawkins was met by her husband, “more scared than I’d ever seen him,” and they waited for the operating room to be prepared for surgery around 10 p.m. However, she soon started feeling worse.
“By 8 I could feel myself dying,” she wrote. “Without over-exaggerating, I felt my breathing becoming impossible and my mind slipping away from me, sweat and incoherent rambling pouring out of me.”
Hawkins wrote that she was switched to an emergency operating room, where she underwent a four-hour surgery to repair her colon and patch her diaphragm.
“I woke up at 12:30 extremely nauseous, puked and felt a sense of relief. While I was in excruciating pain from the incisions, I was no longer experiencing the discomfort I’d come in with.”
On Saturday morning, Hawkins had an ultrasound “to show me the baby is perfectly fine … and the heartbeat was still total normal.”
Added Hawkins: “My spleen will heal on its own and they’ve discovered a collapsed lung, most likely from the trauma to my diaphragm. The colon is the big source of concern, and I will be on bed rest for six or so weeks because of the risk of hernias as well as pregnancy moving my organs up. The diaphragm is the source of the pain, it radiates up the left side of my body, and inhaling is tough. The incision on my stomach is pretty intense, and for the time being another source of severe pain.”
Martinez — who Hawkins referred to as “the man who attacked me at random” — was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault and battery on a pregnant person and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He is expected to be arraigned in Framingham District Court on Monday.
Hawkins said she has a lot of work ahead as she tries to recover both physically and emotionally.
“The physical wounds will heal eventually with time and love, but mentally I am in a spot I’ve not felt before. I have experienced deep, painful trauma in my life, but this, this totally unprovoked, senseless, random attack on my life and my unborn child’s life has shaken me to my core. Thank God for my husband, he labels himself a ‘fixer’ in life, and he has stepped up in every way imaginable over the last 24 hours. Our love is the medicine I need.
“Thank God for my and my husband’s family — anything and everything they can do, they have and are willing to for as long as I possibly need. Thank God for my best friend, she will be flying up next week to care for me and be the source of peace I need to get through this.
“I never imagined starting 2022 like this, but as long as I’m healthy and my baby is healthy and my husband is beside me, this too shall pass.”