Good Samaritan chases trail attack suspect into Spokane River



Posted on September 14, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:42 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- A Good Samaritan is to thank for bringing an alleged attacker to justice in East Spokane.

The maintenance worker heard the victim’s screams and chased the man, which led to his arrest.

Joshua Gahl already left work for work for the day Thursday but made an unplanned return. That’s when he heard the woman’s cries for help.

“I didn’t give a second thought to chasing him down because we can’t have that around here,” he said.

Gahl was headed to give a friend a ride when that person cancelled. He heard the victim just minutes after getting back to work.

“One of the other staff heard the same thing, so we went out to the trail. There was a lady holding her head, screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’” Gahl recalled.

The woman was bleeding badly from the back of her head and cheek.

“When I saw her, she had blood running down the back of her head and she was holding it. I asked her if she was all right, and she pointed down the trail to this guy and said he just attacked me.”

Gahl took off after the suspect, Avondre Graham, at that moment.

“I was running down the tracks, and I was dialing 911 as I was going. I was just kind of too busy to think about anything else that was going on-- just catching the guy. He was running and looking back. He was definitely running from me for a reason.”

Gahl chased Graham right into the Spokane River.

“He had all his clothes on, so he was about to drown and asked me to jump in and save him. I told him he could swim back to shore if he wanted to. He took his clothes off. I ran across Mission Bridge and caught him on the other side”

Spokane police nabbed Graham near Sharp and Madelia.

Gahl says he’s just glad he could be there when the victim needed him.

“I guess there’s a reason for everything.”

Police spent Thursday evening looking for the items stolen from the victim.