29-year-old Sione Suli Jr of Vancouver appeared in a US county court on Tuesday last week for a potential charge of first-degree assault, stemming from his alleged attack with a hammer on a passerby.
Suli entered the Clark County Superior Court courtroom wearing a suicide-prevention smock. Judge Bernard Veljacic appointed a defense attorney to represent Suli, who appeared confused when the prosecutor asked three times to verify his name, local news media reports.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said Suli has prior convictions for violent crimes. Smith asked for and was granted a bail of $350,000 in the case. He also noted that Suli may suffer from mental health issues.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Suli’s wife said he has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
She said she and Suli were in their front yard Monday afternoon when Suli attacked the man, according to the affidavit.
A deputy said the victim had been struck with a hammer, and Suli threw the tool into a nearby yard.
A quick-thinking young woman jumped in action Monday afternoon to help the vicrim deputies said was attacked by a neighbor in Hazel Dell.
According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the attack occurred near Northwest 18th Avenue and 96th Street around 12:30 p.m.
The woman says she heard yelling outside and found a man lying in the street, bleeding heavily from his head. She says she thought he was going to die–so she and her grandmother, a war medic, jumped in to help.
“There was so much blood,” Reneasha Ahlstrand said.
Ahlstrand attempted first aid, which she says she learned in the Girl Scouts, as she waited for medics to arrive.
“I had my hand on his head, trying to stop the bleeding, and I kept screaming for the ladies to get me towels, get me water, but they were in shock, you know,” Ahlstrand said.
The sheriff’s office said the man was attacked by a neighbor who lives across the street.
The victim told deputies the suspect attacked him with a hammer. Investigators are still trying to confirm what, if anything, he was hit with.
Ahlstrand said she sat with the man until medics arrived on scene.
“I kept telling him, ‘honey, please don’t move, just please stay still’ … I thought he was going to die, I was terrified,” Ahlstrand said.
When medics arrived, they rushed the man to an area hospital, where they say he is being treated for life-threating injuries.
Ahlstrand said she prays that everything works out for the better.
“I just hope that he is okay,” Ahlstrand said. “They told me which hospital he went to and I’m probably going to call later, or go by and see if he is alright.”
Deputies said they have arrested 30-year-old Sione Suli in connection to the case.
They believe Suli may suffer from mental illness and said he is being held at the Clark County Jail, where he faces an assault charge.
The Clark County Major Crimes Unit is assisting patrol deputies with the investigation. No other details were released, including a possible motive.