NCIS star Pauley Perrette says she's "grateful to be alive" after a terrifying attack in Hollywood Thursday night. She tweeted about the encounter early Friday, describing how, just after exiting her home, "I was jumped by a VERY psychotic homeless man. He grabbed me forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose, forehead, repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me. Then he showed me how he was going to kill me." She says he kept saying the name "William," and she tried to calm him down by saying, "William is a beautiful name. I have a nephew named William." Ultimately, he let her go and she contacted police. The LAPD confirms the incident to ETOnline and says a suspect, 45-year-old David Merck, was arrested on felony battery charges.
"I almost died tonight," Perrette said in her Twitter message, which included a call for better care for the mentally ill and the homeless. She spoke to ETOnline, noting, "I'm a criminal science major. I'm on a crime show, I'm a crime person, but what it actually feels like to be an innocent victim, a pedestrian walking down the street, and be snatched? ... I know what it feels like now and I was terrified." But, she says, she has compassion for the suspect: "He doesn't know who I am. He doesn't know. He's mentally ill and he has no support. ... [My heart] breaks for every single person that's out there on the streets, especially [those] with undiagnosed or untreated mental illness." Click to watch the interview, or see the sketch Perrette made for police compared to a picture of the suspect. (Read more assault stories.)