by: Alison Grande Updated:
Seattle, Wash. - A Seattle man is recovering after being brutally beaten on the LINK light rail.
Damien Villareal was on his way home from Sea-Tac Airport on Thursday night. At the Othello stop, a group of at least 5 young men got on the train. Witnesses say they immediately started picking a fight with a passenger who had asked them to stop smoking.
Villareal stood up to support the passenger. He said the men turned on him. “Next thing I know, (one of the men) sucker punched me in the face and my jaw split in half … and started bleeding,” Villareal said.
Villareal said the man’s friends joined in on the beating.
Other passengers pushed an emergency button. Sound Transit said the operator heard screaming over the intercom and called the Transit Communication Center. Those employees called police.
One of the men tried to steal a purse belonging to Villareal’s friend, Elin Goransson. She struggled to keep the purse because it contained her passport, wallet, tablet, and camera. Goransson is visiting from Sweden.
According to Sound Transit, police arrived in six minutes.
Villareal said it was too late. He was severely injured and the attackers were gone. “I thought ‘why is no one here’”, said Villareal.
Detectives are reviewing surveillance video from the train and station.
Villareal and Goransson are headed back to the airport Saturday, but they won’t be taking LINK light rail.