Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woman loses fingertip in Tampa meat market brawl

Jacqueline Wimbush, 39, of Tampa was in line at the Aliana Meat Market in Tampa when she got into a fight with a woman who bit her fingertip off, police say. Wimbush went to  the hospital with the tip, but doctors could not reattach it.


Jacqueline Wimbush, 39, of Tampa was in line at the Aliana Meat Market in Tampa when she got into a fight with a woman who bit her fingertip off, police say. Wimbush went to the hospital with the tip, but doctors could not reattach it.

TAMPA — The first time Jacqueline Wimbush got into a fight and lost a fingertip, doctors managed to save it.

Not this time.

Wimbush, who has a history of brawling, lost the tip of her left ring finger to another woman at a busy East Tampa meat market Monday, Tampa police say. "Right now it's gone, and there's nothing I can do," she fumed Wednesday.

The separation began Monday before noon when she entered the Aliana Meat Market and took a number, awaiting a butcher's attention.

It was No. 53.

The market, sandwiched between the Hope gas station and an African-themed bazaar, has an outside mural of a cornucopia filled with pigs, hens and cattle. It empties onto the earth like Noah's ark in reverse. The store sells oxtails, beef hearts, cow heads, salted pig tails, hog jaw and burnt cow skin.

Wimbush, No. 53, usually came to the market on Sundays but wanted pork chops. She planned to cook them along with chicken wings, black beans, yellow rice and Cuban bread for her children.

She was on her cell phone when a woman she didn't know entered the store and took the next number, No. 54.

Her name was Pamela Bumpers, police say.

But soon, a person holding No. 51 gave up and left Bumpers the ticket.

A butcher saw this and skipped to Wimbush's No. 53.

That seemed to upset No. 54 — Bumpers.

Bumpers bumped Wimbush, police say.

Arms flailed. Punches landed. Wimbush says she reached toward Bumper's face — and felt a crunch.

"When I looked at my hand," she said. "I saw she had bitten my finger off. And my finger was on the ground in front of me."

It was detached just above a pink French tip fingernail that had been scheduled for a manicure that afternoon.

People screamed, and the staff behind the meat deli separated the fighters.

A friend picked up the fingertip and the staff put it in ice.

An ambulance took Wimbush to St. Joseph's Hospital, where she said she waited several hours with her fingertip in a red biohazard bag.

It felt a little familiar. In 1996, she said she fought another woman at her sister-in-law's house. The woman bit off the tip of Wimbush's right middle finger. A plastic surgeon's skin graft saved it.

But this time, a St. Joseph's hand specialist numbed her finger and amputated part of the bone.

It was the finger Wimbush, 39, hoped a man would someday put a ring on for the first time.

"Why my finger?" she asked Wednesday, her left hand wrapped in pink bandages and her finger in a splint. "I don't know who's going to put a ring on a nub."

She works in day care, where her hands help children with puzzles and art. Before that, she assembled Big Macs and Whoppers at Burger King and McDonald's and punched keyboards and phone pads as a telemarketer.

She's been in some fights. She was arrested 30 times and served prison time for charges including robbery and grand theft, state records show.

In all that time, she never bit off anyone's finger, she said. The worst she did was scratch a woman's face.

"I guess there aren't any rules in fighting," she said, "and I'm a prime example."

Bumpers, too, had prior arrests. She's 33. She pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in 2001, state records show.

Now she faces a felony battery charge.

Released from jail Monday, she did not respond to a request for an interview.

In her booking photo, she looked at ease as she faced the camera.

And showed her teeth as she smiled.

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or [email protected]

Woman loses fingertip in Tampa meat market brawl 07/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.