A woman waiting for a traffic light to change at Third Avenue and James Street was punched in the face so hard Tuesday morning that a man who witnessed the assault thought she was dead, according to the probable cause statement outlining the Seattle police case against a 39-year-old suspect.
On Wednesday, a King County District Court judge found probable cause to hold the man on investigation of assault and set bail at $150,000, said Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
The Seattle Times is not naming the man because he has not yet been criminally charged. He is a resident of the Morrison Hotel at 509 Third Ave., according to the statement. The Morrison is a supportive housing building run by the Downtown Emergency Services Center and serves disabled homeless adults.
Based on video-surveillance footage and witness statements, police say the woman was waiting to cross the street just before 11 a.m. Tuesday when a man approached her from behind and struck her in the face without provocation. She is seen in the footage falling face down on the pavement, her arms rigid at her sides, the probable cause statement says.
Witnesses saw the man who struck her continue walking west toward First Avenue; he was spotted by an officer at First Avenue and Columbia Street and was arrested after being positively identified by a witness, the statement says.
When officers arrived at the corner where the woman was struck, she was being treated by Seattle Fire Department medics. Her face was bleeding profusely and she was sitting in a pool of blood, with cuts to her nose and lips, and swelling to her upper lip from being hit “with significant force,” says the statement.
Police don’t know if the woman, who was taken to Harborview Medical Center, lost consciousness but believe her nose was broken in the attack; her assailant was also taken to the hospital to be treated for a small cut on his head, says the statement. While at the hospital, an officer overheard the man say something to the effect of, “The voices in my head told me to do something to her,” it says.
The man was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of assault just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, jail records show.