A hammer-wielding woman recorded on video yelling racist remarks outside a family's St. Louis home last year was charged Wednesday with three felonies, authorities said.
Fatima Suarez, 22, who said her family has been harassed for more than a year, said Wednesday that it shouldn't have taken a viral Ring camera video to prompt charges.
The video captured the woman appearing to hit Suarez's front door with a hammer and shouting racist remarks. Suarez initially posted the video on TikTok, and it was reposted by a popular user this week.
“It’s ridiculous for it having to take a video going viral for them to actually do something,” Suarez said. “It’s good news that she’s finally being charged.”
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office identified the woman as Judy Ann Kline, 54, of St. Louis. She is charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree property damage and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with a break-in at Suarez's home on Jan. 5, 2022.
Suarez said that encounter began when her father and youngest sister, then 4, heard a commotion in the basement.
Suarez’s father went to the basement and saw a stranger holding a hammer, Suarez said. The woman had entered the home by breaking a glass door, she said.
Suarez’s father closed a door leading to the basement and got out with his young daughter, Suarez said.
The woman then showed up at the front door, where a Ring video appears to show her swinging a hammer at the door and yelling racist remarks.
Suarez said the attack was racially motivated.
“The whole point of breaking in, it wasn’t even to steal anything. It was because of race,” Suarez said. She noted her family is of Mexican descent.
In the Ring video, the woman is heard demanding paperwork because “I know you didn’t buy this house — you don’t have enough money.”
In another part of the video, the woman says, “Get off my property!” Other footage shows the woman describing herself as an “American citizen, angry at you."
The woman is also heard on the video saying, "What the hell are you doing in my home? Get out, b----. Get out. It's my home," according to a probable cause statement.
Kline also smashed the glass door of a dryer in the home, according to the probable cause statement, which also noted that "the defendant has been reported to have returned to this address multiple times over the past year since the incident occurred."
A search of public records showed the last name Kline affiliated with Suarez’s home in the ‘90s. Suarez said she had heard rumors that Kline had grown up in the house or that her family had owned it decades ago.
Suarez said her family has lived in the home for about a decade.
It was unclear Wednesday afternoon if Kline has an attorney. She could not immediately be reached for comment.
Suarez said Kline has harassed her family for a year, including on Feb. 1, when she allegedly tried to pick the door’s lock. In March, Suarez also accused Kline of stealing mail in March and of sitting outside the home for hours in December.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the woman had been arrested in connection with other disturbances at the home in 2022. The arrests, on allegations of municipal trespassing and miscellaneous peace disturbance, occurred March 17 and Dec. 12, respectively, the newspaper reported.
NBC News requested records of the arrests but did not immediately receive them Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the city's prosecuting office did not immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment.
Before the charges were announced, the Circuit Attorney's Office said in a statement Wednesday that when police submit cases, the the police department determines the public safety threat to evaluate whether cases "should be reviewed within 24 hours of the application for an arrest warrant."
The attorney's office "has elevated the warrant application related to this case, and is awaiting the video evidence that was not initially submitted, and that is now circulating on the Internet," the statement said.