In a creepy example of life imitating Hitchcock, a woman was allegedly chased by a knife-wielding suspect while walking home from a grocery run at the Rainier Valley Safeway last Wednesday night until she was saved by a passing off-duty cop, according to a police report.
Sgt. Nathan Patterson reports a woman was crossing MLK Way on S. Othello, just south of the light rail station at about 8:42 p.m., when she saw a man walking straight toward her making what she described as "weird animal noises" and allegedly gripping a knife straight-up slasher style at throat-level.
"[The victim] feared for her life and attempted to run away from [the suspect]," the report states. "She ran both north and south, and in both instances, [the suspect] was able to block her path."
On the third try, the woman was able to evade her potential attacker, at which point she "tried to call 911 on her cell phone, but she was so afraid and shaking that she couldn't manipulate her phone correctly," the report explains. Meanwhile, "[the suspect] continued to pursue her."
Fortunately, an off-duty officer named Sgt. Clenna, was driving northbound on MLK Jr. Way and saw the distressed woman. According to Patterson's report, Clenna pulled up next to the victim, flung open the passenger door, and said, "We are good people, get in." The woman was able to call 911 from inside Clenna's car, while outside the would-be slasher "ran back towards Sgt. Clenna and [the victim] with the knife in his hand raised at shoulder level."
As Patterson arrived on-scene, he heard a commotion from a nearby business where patrons were attempting to throw out a man matching the suspect's description. Patterson confronted the suspect at gunpoint, and he submitted to a search, which yielded a knife.
Sgt. Clenna and the victim both identified the suspect as the alleged knife-wielder. The suspect was coherent, but apparently ranting religious invective while being put under arrest.
The report notes that the victim "thanked Sgt. Clenna for his bravery, and repeatedly stated how amazed she was by Sgt. Clenna's calm and cool demeanor during a life or death situation." Thanks in part to Sgt. Clenna, no one was harmed.