"She went to go out for a cigarette,“ said Mario Ramos, the victim’s former boyfriend and the first to respond to the woman’s calls for help. “Suddenly, she comes out screaming, holding her head, bleeding from everywhere, and I was freaking out. I said what's going on. She said some guy over there hit her with a hammer almost to death."
Ramos went after the boy identified as the attacker.
“I run after him,” he says. “Scream at him. I had him here on the floor, holding him, screaming to somebody to call the cops."
“About twenty five minutes after twelve, we received a call about an assault in progress," said West Valley Police Sergeant Chad Evans.
He was the first officer on-scene. He saw a crowd of people around a 17 year-old boy on the ground.
“Witnesses to the crime chased the suspect down and were able to apprehend him until police arrived," said Evans.
Ken Parker was one of those witnesses who got involved.
“I seen her head and heard that he hit her with a hammer," he said.
Parker says he was visiting a friend at the apartment complex when he saw the suspect try to escape.
"He took off running so we pursued after him to see what we could do about catching him. I clothes lined him and tackled him."
Shawn Wellensteen, a neighbor and off-duty emergency medical technician was the first to render aid to the victim.
“She kept asking if she was going to die," he said.
"She was bleeding pretty bad, with a blood-soaked shirt," he said.
Wellensteen said the woman had at least three gashes in her skull and appeared to be suffering from a concussion.
The fast moving incident seemed to end as quickly as it started. Police said witnesses might have made it worse by getting too involved.
“It's not uncommon for suspects to be armed with knives, guns, needles, or whatever they may have, and the citizen who gets involved risks getting hurt," Sergeant Evans told ABC 4.
The suspect is in custody. The woman is in serious condition tonight in a local hospital but is expected to survive.