SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A day after a man allegedly attacked two women with a pick ax in Springfield — the victims and the mother of the suspect are speaking out.
One of the victims describes Tuesday’s attack as brutal and insane as the suspect repeatedly swung at them with a pick ax.
“He would’ve caught me right in the kidney if she would not have pushed me, but instead he caught her here,” said victim, Lynette Sellers.
The stress is still evident as Sellers describes what she says was a violent attack that happened on L Street, just a little more than 24 hours ago.
“We were looking at the trees and the flowers and everything and the next thing we knew this guy that was like this, came busting right through us, knocked us almost down and started cursing at us and calling us names and telling us to get off his street,” said Sellers.
That man police say is 34-year-old Thomas Murphy.
Sellers says he started cursing at her and her friend Catherine Miller, telling them to get off her his street.
Murphy ran into his home.
When he came back — sellers say he was armed with a hammer and a pick ax.
“When he swung the first swing,I blocked it like this and he got my liter Mountain Dew bottle he went all the way through it and it was three quarters of the way full,” said Sellers.
Sellers says Murphy also knocked her phone away as she was talking with 9-1-1 dispatchers.
He also hit Miller in the torso sending her to the hospital.
One of the witnesses who watched part of the attack in shock, Murphy’s mother, Mary.
“Before yesterday, Tom never exhibited any violence. Never. People would be very afraid of him because he was very intense in his beliefs,” said Thomas’ mother, Mary Murphy.
Mary says her son suffers from schizophrenia and he’s been off his medication.
But she says what happened Tuesday afternoon is the result of a mental health system that’s failed her son.
“They put a civil commitment on Tom that was supposed to be for six months at the Heeran Center which is a lock down psychiatric facility,” said Mary Murphy.
Mary says she tried on three separate occasions to get her son help, but officials told her he wasn’t severe enough for treatment.
“Tom would either have to commit suicide or harm someone like he did yesterday,” said Mary Murphy.
As Mary sits on her front porch agonizing over what her son did she says if he wasn’t turned away from treatment Tuesday’s incident may have never happened and the victims like Lynette Sellers wouldn’t be left frustrated and traumatized.
“It doesn’t just make me angry at him, it makes me angry at the system. I just don’t understand how the system can bypass you for 34 years,” said Sellers.