Good Samaritan attacked on Light Rail, suffers broken jaw

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SEATTLE — A Seattle man coming to the aid of a couple with child being harassed by six teenagers on the Light Rail was attacked and suffered a broken jaw, the King County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The victim, Damien Villareal, said the Thursday night incident started when one of the teens started smoking a cigarette on the train and a couple with a young child asked the teen if he could stop smoking.


Damien Villareal was attacked aboard a Light Rail for trying to help a couple being harassed by six teenagers. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

Villareal said the smoker and his friends began harassing the couple, scaring the woman, who began pushing the train’s emergency button. When there was no immediate response, Villareal said he stepped in.

“I couldn’t stand for it and felt I needed to say something, especially with the baby on the (woman’s) chest,” Villareal said in an interview Friday. “What am I going to do?”

He said he tried to calm the group of teens down, but they attacked him..

“I had my hands out and I said I’m not going to fight you, and he just sucker-punched me right in my face and broke my jaw,” Villareal said.

He tackled one of the teenagers and tried to pin him down, but they all got away at the Columbia City stop.

The victims were disappointed with Sound Transit’s lack of security response.

“After the other guy’s wife pushed the panic button, no one showed up,” Villareal said.

Sound Transit said it is investigating, but that its security force was there in six minutes once they were contacted.

Still smarting from a broken jaw and swollen face, Villareal said he doesn’t regret stepping in to help.

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  • John Fuller

    What's going on with Sound Transit lately? Quality of service is in steep decline. Bus and train service is not what it once was. Are they having management issues like the corrupt government fat cats that run the Washington state ferry system? Upper management needs to be replaced!

    • Kit

      The teen gangs in the south end need to be replaced with honest citizens that obey the law, stay in school and don't have children before they can support themselves. They are leeches on our society. Welfare has got to go! We're just raising rats that will kill to get a cell phone.

  • Guest

    Sure, Sound Transit has its problems as do parents trying to raise kids but how about a little positive for MR VILLAREAL and yes I did mean all caps and MR based just on what was reported in this brief story I this is a man who's parents should be VERY proud.

  • Poo

    Thanks for manning up dude. We need more people like you who act when they see something wrong. Your jaw will heal and the thugs will pay.


    Once again, no description of the 'teen' attackers. Why not???? A description should be mandatory in a story like this one.

      • concernedresident

        this is true. Sound Transit must have some way of getting negative news like this off media. We hear of accidents and incidents like this on lite rail, but soon after the story just seems to "fade away". I am referring to the murder last year of Danny Vega near the Othello Station. IF ST provided security in the same way the Downtown Transit tunnel did after the problems there came out, maybe these thugs wouldn't be able to get onto the trains in the first place.

  • Ralph

    Two years ago, a young UW student disappeared from that area and I don't think she was ever found. She was supposed to be riding the train north to the UW campus during the day. Marizela Perez is her name.

  • sv1g

    This sort of thing seems to happen on a daily basis and yet the majority of people still don't understand why so many of us carry guns.

  • aaaaa

    Ya know, the south is full of conservatives, and crime is far worse, I am not sure why everything must be scapegoated by 'Fox' viewers/ readers. Texas executes mentally handicapped people, and it has done nothing to reduce crime, so quit hiding all the wannabe 'action-hero' rhetoric, bigotry, and ignorance by indicting another group of people. The problem is that everyone is pointing fingers, rather than doing anything about obvious problems.