SEATTLE - A routine trip to the local Ballard post office turned into a horrifying nightmare for a woman who was attacked in broad daylight by a pitchfork-wielding man who had just been released from jail days earlier for a previous assault, police say.
The suspect, identified as Daniel A. Kuchta, 28, is now back in jail after Good Samaritans who witnessed the pitchfork attack chased him down and held him until police arrived, court documents say.
“I saw a man trying to get into a woman’s car I could see a bit a struggle going on,” said Kris Weller, who ran to the woman’s rescue.
Police say the incident unfolded on the afternoon of August 5 when the victim returned to her parked car after visiting the post office at 5706 17th Avenue Northwest in Seattle.
The woman was seated in the car, about to leave, when the suspect ran up and repeatedly thrust a metal pitchfork head toward her, according to the case file.
The woman screamed, "Help, he's trying to kill me!" as the suspect attempted to stab her with the pitchfork in her leg, chest and neck, court documents say. The woman was able to place her purse between her body and the pitchfork, and the purse absorbed most of the impact.
Meanwhile, Kris Weller and Christopher Perry, who were both working nearby, heard the woman’s cries and dashed to help her.
“I could see them struggling and that’s when I started running after them and chased them down the block,” said Weller.
He intervened and stopping the attack on the woman. That’s when the suspect fled.
The Good Samaritans were determined not to let the suspect get away, and they eventually were able to subdue him and remove the pitchfork head from his possession, according to the court file.
“I had to call 911 while I had him on the ground, I just yelled up the road, we made sure she was okay,” said Weller.
Both men and others in the neighborhood says this is an example of how our city is failing to solve Seattle’s homeless crisis.
“I believe it’s the politicians that are failing. They have rules and things that are not working in our favor,” said Perry.
Police arrived on scene and arrested the suspect, who reportedly said he had injected methamphetamine just before the assault, court documents say.
The victim was shaken to her core but was not injured.
“Something like that should not happen,” said Perry.
Kuchta is now booked into the King County Jail, charged with two counts of second-degree assault.
His criminal history also includes a 2009 attempted murder charge in Oregon when he was a juvenile