Man attacked and robbed by hammer-wielding suspect on light rail in Phoenix

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Phoenix police are looking for the hammer-wielding suspect who attacked and robbed a man on the light rail. Cell phone video captured the end of the ordeal. Nicholas Gregory said he tried to intervene when he saw the suspect lift the hammer and fell victim to the attack. “I saw this claw. So I just jumped up as fast as I could and just took him down,” Gregory said.

It happened Friday on the westbound light rail from Mesa to Phoenix near Sky Harbor Airport. Gregory said the suspect brought a speaker on the light rail. It was around 5:30 in the morning. He exchanged words with the guy sitting next to Gregory. That’s when he said things got out of hand. “When I saw that hammer I just thought it was going to kill him,” he said. “He took the hammer back and the claw hit me in the face and I felt it and after that I grabbed the hammer and wrapped it around with my arm as hard as I could and got it for a minute I just fought with him.”

Gregory said his phone and house keys fell out of his pocket. The suspect broke the phone and stole the keys to his house. Phoenix police confirmed the account and said they were investigating. “With such a violent person on the train and making the traveling public less safe, our biggest key is trying to find out who this person is and identify them and then bring them to justice,” said Sgt. Phoenix Police’s Brian Bower said.

Phoenix police have a transit unit. Valley Metro, which oversees the light rail system, uses a private security company to help. Valley Metro said it was supposed to have 110 security guards patrolling the light rail system, but 46 of those positions are vacant. That’s about 42% of their security guards.

In response, Valley Metro sent the following statement:

Gregory realizes how lucky he is. Although he suffered bruises to his arm and nose, he is fine. He hopes they will be arrested soon.

Jose P. Rogers