The 78-year-old woman attacked by a man who was later shot and killed by police after lunging at an officer with an 11-inch hunting knife in Brooklyn Thursday tells NBC 4 New York that she was rocked by the experience, but glad she intervened in the suspect's earlier dispute.
Ada Volis was passing by a supermarket on her way home from swimming in Brighton Beach Thursday afternoon when she saw the 58-year-old suspect hit a salesman outside a nearby store over the head.
Volis knew the salesman -- she says she saw him at the store often and he was always polite to her and said hello -- and she felt like she had to try to help.
"Big man, very big -- beat him by head, screaming," Volis said, adding the man hit the salesman at least two times. "I say, 'Stop.' I call police. I call 911."
Volis says she took out her phone to call police.
"He looked at me, this man, eyes like 'this,'" she said, gesturing with her hands as if they were giant, frightening eyes. Volis says the salesman then ran off in one direction; the man who had been beating him ran off in another.
Volis then went on her way; she had to stop at a pharmacy to get blood pressure medication and then started to head home, cutting below the elevated Ocean Parkway Q train station. She got about a half block from her apartment when she saw the suspect who had been beating the salesman on the street in front of her. Volis says he attacked her on the street, pounding her in the head with his fists, kicking her and screaming at her.
"I was stuck," Volis said. "I don't know what happened to me in this moment. I was in terrible pain in the sidewalk. I couldn't walk. He almost killed me."
A 24-year-old uniformed NYPD officer assigned to transit foot patrol in the area heard the commotion while on the subway platform, descended to the street and tried to arrest the suspect, but the man pulled out an 11-inch hunting knife and stabbed the officer in the neck, authorities said Thursday.
The officer, Fillippo Gugliara, fired two gunshots at the suspect, striking him in the torso. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene; his knife was recovered. Gugliara, an NYPD officer since 2013, was taken to a hospital, where he received a few stitches to his neck. He remained there overnight and was released Friday, cheered on by about 50 to 60 fellow police officers as he left the building.
The officer didn't speak as he left the hospital.
Volis, a widow with two sons, says she was shocked and scared by the entire experience, and that her head is still bothering her from the beating. But, given the attack on the police officer, she says she feels like she saved the salesman's life by intervening when the suspect attacked him. The woman was modest about her actions, though.
"It's something anyone would do," Volis said.
NBC 4 New York knocked on the door of the dead suspect's family's home Friday and the man's wife slammed the door. The man's son-in-law said the family feels the suspect was shot unjustly.