A tornado chaser was attacked while he was attempting to help a man who appeared to be injured in last night’s storms in North Texas.
Jeff Piotrowski, a storm chaser whose work is seen on television stations across Texas, Oklahoma, and other stations in the midwest, was going back to help victims after deadly tornadoes struck the Dallas metropolitan area Saturday, December 26. When the tornado chaser was driving back to the damaged areas to help victims following the tornadoes, he came across someone he believed was hurt. It was at this time the tornado chaser was attacked by the man, who Piotrowski said tried to murder him.
“Are you OK? Are you OK? Are you hurt? Are you hurt, are you OK? You’re hurt? Huh? Can you talk to me? I’ve got police right here, police are coming,” Piotrowski told the man before the attacker said something and then tried to stab the tornado chaser in the chest.
The tornado chaser can be heard yelling during the attack before speeding away, all while Periscope viewers were hearing the attack and seeing Piotrowski speed away.
Following the attack, the tornado chaser continued talking to his viewers explaining what happened just off view of the camera.
“This guy just tried to attack me with a knife! I stopped to help him and he took a knife and tried to stab me! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I’m going to tell the police right now. Oh, my God. I’ve got to get the police. This is unbelievable. That guy just tried to stab me. Oh, my God! Oh, my God! OK, I’ve got to go get the police. This is unbelievable. I stopped to help the guy and the guy just tried to stab me in my truck. Where is… There’s a policeman. I’m going to get him. That guy is out of his mind! I don’t know if he’s drunk or high or he looked like he was… I’m OK. He didn’t get me. I drove off before he got me. He almost got me. Almost stabbed me. I’m going to get this policeman right here. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. Stop to help someone and they stab you.”
The attack on the tornado chaser Jeff Piotrowski was relayed to a local sheriff’s deputy, who immediately pursued the suspect described by the tornado chaser as a hispanic man. The video from just before the attack appears to show a man in a red shirt with a beard and dark hair.
“I tried to help the guy and he come up and I thought something was bad with him. I said, ‘Are you injured?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, but I’m going to tell you something else.’ And he reaches in and grabs me by the neck and he tried to stab me with a knife,” Piotrowski said. “He’s in the middle of the road down there about a mile.”
As the tornado chaser followed the sheriff’s deputy down the road, he continues speaking to his Periscope followers about the attack. He told them in 35 years chasing tornadoes and other storms, he has never been attacked or had a similar incident. The tornado chaser added that the incident could have ended differently if he had been armed.
“I’m mad as hell. I wish I had my gun. I would have shot his (expletive). It’s ridiculous! I’m going to let the policeman get him. I don’t want anywhere near this guy.”
The tornadoes in North Texas have left 11 dead, according to the Dallas Morning News, while thousands more were left without power and 600 buildings damaged, “many of them completely leveled.”
KXAS-TV 5 in Dallas/Fort Worth reported “a 40-mile-long area [of damage] from 20 miles south of Dallas to northeast of the city.”
[Image via NOAA]