A 31-year-old Seattle man was charged Friday with first-degree assault, accused of striking a woman in the back of the head with a baseball bat as she was walking home Monday evening in Belltown, according to King County prosecutors.
Video-surveillance footage captured the random assault, and the attacker’s distinctive facial tattoos led Seattle police to identify Wantez Tulloss, who was arrested Tuesday at his Belltown apartment and remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail, jail and court records show. Court records do not yet indicate which attorney is representing him.
Just before 6:30 p.m. Monday, Seattle police responded to the 200 block of Cedar Street, where officers found medics treating the woman, who was lying on her back on the sidewalk and had blood coming from her right ear, say the charges. She told officers she was hit from behind and didn’t see her attacker.
Witnesses told officers they had just left their own apartment building and started walking, when they turned around because they got a bad feeling after seeing a man swinging a baseball bat in the alley, the charges say. They heard a sound that made them turn back, and saw the man with the bat next to a woman who had collapsed on the ground. They watched him pick up his bags and walk away.
The witnesses went to the woman’s aid and called 911.
Police obtained video footage from the witnesses’ apartment building, which showed a man dressed in black with a baseball bat in one hand and bags in another. It appeared he walked up behind the woman, dropped his bags to the ground, and swung the bat at the woman’s head with both hands, according to charging papers.
A photo and short video clip of the man, sent out to all Seattle police officers, got a response the next day by an officer who identified the man as Tulloss, say the charges. The officer remembered seeing the man downtown on Jan. 28 because of his facial tattoos and used a police database to look for individuals with distinctive tattoos.
Police learned Tulloss lives at the A.L. Humphrey House, which is run by Plymouth Housing for low-income and transient people who have experienced homelessness. It is located on Cedar Street less than 500 feet from where the woman was hit, say the charges.
While an officer was at the apartment building reviewing security footage, the charges say Tulloss came into the lobby, then went to his unit while the officer called for backup.
Following Tulloss’ arrest, officers obtained a search warrant and found the clothes he was seen wearing in the video footage, hidden in the oven, say the charges. While the bags Tulloss was seen carrying were also recovered, police did not find a baseball bat in his apartment.
A police detective interviewed the woman, an Amazon worker whose family is all overseas. A document from Harborview Medical Center showed she suffered skull fractures and a possible concussion, according to the charges. The woman told the detective she can’t figure out why someone would attack her and said she is to undergo surgery next week, the charges say.