Man upset as people watched him get attacked

by: James Schugel Updated:

SEATTLE —

A Capitol Hill man was hit in the face, threatened with a knife and had his iPhone stolen, police said.  But he said what really frustrates him is the fact that people watched it happen and didn’t bother to do a thing. 

“I think I’m more upset that people wanted to keep their distance,” said Robbie Turner.  

One minute he was leisurely walking home from work, but the next he was fighting for his life at East Pine Street and Harvard Avenue on Thursday at 4 p.m.

 “He really did come out of nowhere,” said Turner. “Immediately, a thrust to the face.” 

Turner dropped his phone on the sidewalk, and the attack escalated. 

“He was reaching for a knife and went right towards my throat,” he recalled. 

Turner knows self-defense and just missed getting cut. His wrist and hand are sore though. He said people were sitting nearby on the grass, while others were standing at the bus stop, and all they did, he said, was ignore the situation.              

“At the end of the day, I don’t think they cared to get involved,” he said. 

There is a Seattle City Code that says a person can be found guilty of failing to summon assistance when they were present when a crime was committed and knows someone suffered substantial bodily harm. 

“Legally, it would be very hard to prove that a person withheld calling for assistance,” said Seattle police Detective Renee Witt. 

She said the police want people to be good witnesses when they see a crime happen.

"Are you ethically responsible for calling 911?” asked KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter James Schugel.

“I think it’s an individual decision,” said Witt.

She also stressed that safety is very important in situations like this. People should never put themselves in danger trying to help someone. 

Turner wished someone, at the least, would have called police for him.  He had to do it for himself. 

“People need to be aware that things are happening,” said Turner.  “I think people need to be able to defend themselves, because this could have gotten really bad, even deadly.”