Caught on Video: Good Samaritan saves woman from assault, fire at Ballard homeless camp

SEATTLE — Seattle police arrested a man after he was seen on surveillance choking a woman and shoving her into a tent encampment which had caught on fire.

The suspect was identified Wednesday by a Good Samaritan who intervened in the confrontation and is seen on surveillance cameras stopping the man from assaulting the woman.

Verley Pitts was working at the Les Schwab tire store on 15th Ave. NW in Ballard, when he saw the fire break out at a homeless encampment on NW 50th St.

“When the man shoved her into the tent that was on fire, then straddled her and started strangling her, that’s a really good sign that someone needs to actually do something instead of watch,“ Pitts said.

The video shows Pitts walking from the tire store to physically but calmly stop the man from assaulting the woman.

Almost immediately, the man is seen on video taking wild swings at Pitts.

“I just grabbed the guy by the back of the shirt collar and pulled him off of her,“ he said. “I told him that it’s not OK to hit women.“

Pitts appears to be a calm model of restraint and composure during the entire incident. He told KIRO-7 he never even considered being violent to stop the violence.

“I don’t need to hurt anybody. There is what’s needed, and what is excessive. There’s no reason to be excessive,“ Pitts said.

The woman involved reportedly accepted help from outreach workers.

Pitts, who lives south of Spokane and commutes to Ballard for work weekly, said he didn’t feel he was acting courageously or risking his life when he decided to intervene.

“Maybe people are to start acting, instead of watching,“ he said.