AUSTIN, Texas - A man believed to be homeless attacked a woman visiting Austin with her friends last week and then repeatedly punched the man who tried to save her.
37-year-old Timothy Mitchell was arrested on two assault charges, as well as drug charges, following the incident. A search of his criminal history turned up more than 30 previous charges, a handful of them for other assaults.
“Welcome to Austin,” Mark Dolan said sarcastically after learning the women involved were visiting at the time.
It wasn't a warm welcome for the four women who are originally from Los Angeles.
“It was maybe 1:30 in the afternoon, broad daylight, Congress Avenue Bridge… You wouldn't think that would happen,” Dolan said.
Ashley Goodrich said she was crossing the bridge when she noticed a man yelling obscenities walking towards her. “We just all said to each other, ‘Do not look up. Do not make eye contact. Just give him his space to walk by,’” said Goodrich.
As they crossed paths with him, that plan fell apart. “Before I knew it, in my side vision, he just lunged towards me. And the last thing I remember is him saying I'm gonna F*** you up,” Goodrich said. “He just started wailing on me,” she added.
It was at that moment Mark Dolan happened to be running by.
“I saw him grab her by the shoulders and I thought he was going to push her over the rail,” Dolan said.
“I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do something,” he added.
Mark said he stepped in between Ashley and the attacker, who police later identified as Timothy Mitchell.
“He just said, ‘Go, go,’ and the first door that I opened in a public area, I just ran inside,” said Goodrich.
The women made it inside The Line Hotel where staff helped Ashley hide. “I turned to run back to The Line to make sure they're okay. The guy followed me and as I entered the door of the restaurant of The Line, he hit me in the back of the head a couple of times before I even knew what happened,” Dolan said.
After taking several more blows to the head, Mark said two valet drivers at the hotel tackled Mitchell and held him down until the police got there.
“If those guys hadn't had showed up when they showed up, it could've gotten a lot worse,” said Dolan.
No one involved likes to think about what “worse” could've looked like.
“I got stitches on the side of my head, on my lip, and contusions on my skull, and my ear was all swollen, black and blue,” Dolan said.
Ashley said she won't be returning to Austin anytime soon.
“They said, ‘Do you want to press charges?’ And I said, ‘I don't ever want to come back here,’” said Goodrich.
While Ashley is still traumatized by what happened on the Congress Bridge that day, she’s grateful someone nearby was watching out for her. “One of the ladies sent my wife a real nice text message about being their guardian angel,” Dolan said.
“He was our guardian angel,” said Goodrich.
“I didn't feel like one… Maybe I had a guardian angel looking over me that day, too,” said Dolan.