A 20-year-old Arizona man and his family were on their way to visit the Space Needle when police say Michael Lee Person attacked the man from behind.
A 47-year-old man has been charged with misdemeanor assault, accused of attacking a tourist from Arizona earlier this month as the man and his family were headed to the Space Needle, according to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
Michael Lee Person, who told police he was homeless and moved to Seattle from Colorado nine months ago, has remained jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail since his arrest June 2, jail and court records show.
According to a Seattle police report, the 20-year-old victim was with his girlfriend, brother, mother and mother’s boyfriend when they parked next to Person’s tent near Denny Way and Third Avenue around 2:30 p.m. They saw Person peek out at them, became uncomfortable with their vehicle’s proximity to a cluster of tents and moved the car into a bank parking lot, the report says.
As the family got out of the vehicle, Person came up behind the 20-year-old and his girlfriend, who tried to walk away because Person’s “demeanor was threatening and scared them,” says the police report. Person punched the man from behind and used a rope in an apparent attempt to strangle him, the report says.
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A police officer would later note the victim had a six-inch long rope burn from his Adam’s apple to his right shoulder.
The 20-year-old and his girlfriend got away and caught up with the rest of the family. They saw Person run back to his tent and “thought they were safe,” according to the police report. As the family was about to cross the street, Person ran north on Third Avenue, turned the corner onto Denny Way and again attacked the 20-year-old, repeatedly punching him in the head and face, says the report.
Officers arrived and stopped the attack.
It was the family’s last day in Seattle but the 20-year-old told police he is willing to return for trial, according to the report.
An officer interviewed Person, who said he believed the 20-year-old’s girlfriend was television host Ellen DeGeneres, who Person said he was going to marry. He also claimed the victim was 14, it says.
“Person said the fight was over Ellen having sex with the underage male, but that the male threw the first punch,” the officer wrote.
The intake form filled out by jail staff says Person has a history of assault convictions, is unemployed, receives food stamps and usually stays in a tent in the Kent area, court records show. He moved to Seattle nine months ago from Colorado, where he lived for two years, to be closer to a son or grandson, the records say.