I can't imagine what this woman must have been feeling as she politely gave a stranger a light on a subway platform -- only to have him suddenly start punching her in the head, dragging her by the ankles, and hauling her over the side onto the subway tracks below. That's what happened to a 23-year-old mother who was attacked two days ago inside Philadelphia's subway system. But luckily her crazed attacker was caught -- thanks to his distinctive jacket, a sharp-eyed female police officer, and the videotape that caught the entire horrifying scene.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was sitting on a bench inside the Chinatown subway stop in Philly, when the man, whom she said "didn't look crazy," approached and asked her for the time and a light. When she obliged him, he suddenly and viciously attacked.
What is so horrifying here is that the guy grabs her by the ankles -- and drags her across the platform. As someone who has taken self-defense and can get out of a wide array of holds, this one stumps me. How would you defend yourself from someone dragging you by the ankles? Not to mention that my favorite trick -- staying far from the track -- did this woman no good. Then he throws her like a sack of potatoes onto the subway tracks. This comes only a couple of months after two subway pushing incidents in New York City.
Luckily for this woman, there were no trains coming and she was able to get back onto the platform with only cuts and bruises. The psychotic man took her cellphone, which she dropped in the attack, and then walked away.
Police, wanting to capture the man and having only his jacket as an indicator of his identity, didn't release the surveillance video for two days while the man was still walking around free -- because they worried he would take it off.
It was a female police officer who spotted the man in the jacket -- though it was now underneath another jacket -- and helped apprehend him. Police called Sgt. Nicole Lawson "hero of the day."
The man, William Clark, is homeless. He was arrested yesterday. This is truly a terrifying scenario for anyone to face and thank god the woman is okay. Here's the video. Be warned it's disturbing.
Image via CBS