A disabled Vietnam vet who intervened in a brutal Spanaway road rage beating insists he isn't a hero. But after visiting with Mike Howard about the vicious attack, there's little doubt he saved a man's life.
Howard tells Ron and Don he was driving near the Spanaway Airport Monday when he saw the car driven by Scott Bradford pull over after Bradford accidentally pulled in front of another driver.
Howard says when Bradford tried to apologize, the other driver sucker punched him, then repeatedly smashed his face.
Howard says he honked his horn to get the guy to stop. He did, but then he approached the double-amputee in his car.
"I had my window down about four inches and he started yelling racial slurs at me," Howard says.
The guy clearly wanted to fight, but Howard refused. He started walking away, but when Howard got out of his car, the attacker came back and challenged him again.
"When I wouldn't touch him, I just stood there and looked at him, he spat in my face and he walked back over to his car to get in it and leave."
Howard says he quickly took out his pocket knife and tried to slash the guy's tires to keep him from fleeing. But the guy attacked him, kicking and punching him repeatedly in the head.
Howard says the guy was worse than animal. "He's just an extremely violent person who apparently figures he's above the law."
Howard says the guy took off, and although he had been beaten as well, he managed to get a towel out of his car and comfort Bradford until help arrived.
Bradford's family credits Howard with saving the man's life. The victim remains in the ICU at Tacoma General Hospital with a number of broken bones in his face and jaw, forced to breathe with the help of a respirator. He'll need at least three metal plates in his face and at least several surgeries.
"His face is mangled," says a disgusted Howard.
Howard tells Ron and Don he had actually seen the guy several times before driving in the area, and for some reason the attacker stuck in his mind.
The attacker is described as a fair skinned black man in his 20's, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall with short black hair and a slender build. He was driving an older green, two-door Ford like a Tempo or Escort.
Howard is offering $500 of his own money to a reward fund in hopes of catching the attacker. Howard is certain someone knows the guy, and he likely bragged about it. "He's the kind of person that went to brag to his friends, you know it and I know it that's what went on," Howard says.
You can contribute to the reward fund or offer tips to help catch the attacker here.
Meantime, the reward continues growing. Along with Howard's donation, the family is offering a $2,250 reward. And Ron and Don, John Curley and others contributed $1,500 more for information that leads to the guy's arrest. And Howard says you can have the reward even if there isn't a conviction, as long as it helps catch the guy.
"I don't care if you're black, white, yellow, polka dot or indifferent. Think about how you would feel if somebody smashed your mother's face in," Howard says. "I want this guy off the street."