Updated 2/16/2012 at 5:30 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman was stabbed and seriously injured during a robbery in broad daylight Thursday, at a flower shop in the iconic Flat Iron Building in Wicker Park.

A man armed with a knife held up the Asrai Garden flower shop, in a ground floor storefront in the Flat Iron Building at 1935 W. North Ave., around 11:20 a.m., according to a Shakespeare District police sergeant.

The robber stabbed a female employee inside the shop multiple times. She was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in serious condition, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

Melody Palermo, who knows the victim, saw her get wheeled into an ambulance.

“She fought back – that’s what we’ve heard,” Palermo told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “She fought back, she got the knife away.”

The attacker took the victims purse and ran. He was caught on at least one surveillance tape.

Palermo believes she was approached by the man about a half hour before he went on the attack. She says what police told her confirmed her suspicions.

“Something just didn’t seem right to me,” she told reporters. “He was having a hard time speaking.”

It was unknown if the woman was an employee or a customer of the shop, or how old she was.

No one was in custody as of about 12:30 p.m., the sergeant said.

The suspect may have a hearing disability, and he may be homeless.

The Flat Iron Arts Building serves as an artists’ colony with a variety of gallery and studio spaces on the upper two floors. In addition to the Asrai Garden, its ground floor storefronts also host a Bank of America Branch, and a variety of bars, boutiques, restaurants, tobacco shops and other businesses.

The intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues where the building is located is one of the busiest and most fashionable spots in the city.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

Watch & Listen LIVE