Resident stops sex assault of women in Detroit alley

Two women were forced into an alley and sexually assaulted walking home from a store.

A man living nearby alerted his neighbors, stopped the attack and went after the rapist Saturday morning on Detroit's west side.

"I almost got him, I almost got him," said Michael Thomas. "He got away."

Thomas grabbed his stick, the one he keeps by his front door, yelled to his neighbors and headed for the alley behind his home at Pilgrim and Manor where he had heard screaming.

Moments earlier, he saw two young women in their twenties walking to the neighborhood party store just after 1 a.m. Saturday.

"When I heard the scream, I'm thinking an animal jumped out the bushes on them or something," Thomas said. "Then again I hear this guy's voice saying 'Shut the f up, shut the f up, get in the alley, get in the alley.'"

Thomas jumped up and called 911 twice - then decided he couldn't wait for the cops.

"I got my neighbors, we got together," he said. "I went back there and I ran with my stick.

"I swung the stick at him, he got away. He jumped over the fence and left. But I got the young ladies out - back into the street. 

"They were petrified."

Thomas says it appears one of the women was pregnant. Now other women in the neighborhood say they're frightened.

"I felt safe until this happened saturday morning," said neighbor Tamika Williams. "I do not feel safe anymore."

"Young people, women, everybody, you have to be careful," said Sharon Thompson, who lives nearby. "Use that gut instinct."

Thomas said he has a message for that rapist and for the community at large.

"If you stay in the neighborhood you're going to get caught," he said. "I just want you to know that you're going to get caught - if the police doesn't catch you, the neighborhood's going to catch you."

Thomas says he's tired of the violence, tired of people refusing to help the police. In short, he says if you see something, say something.

"It's unacceptable, this crime wave," he said. "It has no business going on. The crime wave that we have - there's no reason for it.

"Don't turn your head and say you didn't see it - you saw it - you saw it. Don't turn your head."