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

A light rail rider in Phoenix was attacked by a man with a hammer, and it was caught on camera.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 9:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix police are looking for the hammer-wielding suspect who attacked and robbed a man on the light rail. Cellphone video captured the end of the ordeal. Nicholas Gregory said he tried to intervene when he saw the suspect lift the hammer and became the victim of the attack. “I saw that claw. So I just jumped up as fast as I can and I just took him down,” Gregory said.

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

Gregory said his phone and house keys fell out of his pocket. The suspect smashed the phone and stole his house keys. Phoenix Police confirmed the account and said they’re 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,” Sgt. Brian Bower with Phoenix Police said.

Phoenix police have a public transit unit. Valley Metro, which oversees the light rail system, uses a private security company to help out. Valley Metro said it’s 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 just how lucky he is. While he suffered bruises to his arm and nose, he’s OK. He’s hoping they’ll be an arrest soon.