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Fairview woman saved by stranger after vicious attack

Mikka Thomas was walking home from a nearby gas station when a stranger attacked her. A neighbor heard her cries and stepped in to save her life.
Mikka Thomas was walking home from a nearby gas station when a stranger attacked her. A neighbor heard her cries and stepped in to save her life.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 8:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mikka Thomas still has several wounds on her head — some visible, some hidden. She stands feet from the exact spot where she was attacked, early Sunday morning on Sept. 6. A large rock, possibly the one used to strike her head, lays nearby.

“I have anxiety all day. I keep replaying it and wondering what I could have done different,” she recalls. “I felt safe. I was like ‘I’m almost home,’ but I guess I wasn’t.”

Thomas is a Fairview resident. On Sept. 6, she took a late-night walk to pick up cigarettes from a gas station. Returning home, Thomas was about 100 yards from her front door when she realized someone was following behind her. It was a shirtless man that she didn’t recognize.

“When he first hit me, I fell to the ground and knew this was going to be a fight for my life,” she said. “The first thing that ran through my head was that my sister and friend had told me not to walk through this neighborhood alone.”

Thomas says she can’t recall exactly how many times she was struck, and that her attacker remained silent throughout their struggle.

“I knew ... ‘Every time he bashes you, if you pass out, you can’t make any noise. Nobody will hear you.’ I kept trying to protect my head, but I felt like I was losing the battle. All over the back of my head, there’s just knots everywhere,” Thomas said.

Thankfully for Thomas, her screams drew the attention of nearby neighbor Shaun Sullivan. He quickly responded and managed to subdue the attacker with some assistance from his blue heeler, Dusty.

“As I walk out of the front door, the screams that I was hearing were increasing in intensity,” Sullivan said. “By the time I got to my porch here, I could see over here that there was a person, facing away from me, leaned over the top of who I later learned was Mikka.”

Sullivan quickly removed the attacker and chased him several yards before getting him to the ground. At the time, he said he was uncertain whether the man had another weapon. Sullivan was also maskless and concerned over the possibility that the person he was confronting might be COVID-19 positive. After their initial contact, he maintained a short distance from the attacker, thwarting multiple escape attempts while waiting for law enforcement.

“I feel like this is what a citizen of our city should do for any person, any neighbor who is in need,” Sullivan said.

When police officers arrived at the scene, 26-year-old Erik Donhauser-Sagmoen was taken into custody. He now faces assault charges. Court records show that Donhauser-Sagmoen has a lengthy criminal history which spans back nearly a decade.

While Thomas and Sullivan live close, they never met before her attack. She believes she wouldn’t be alive right now if he had not come to her rescue.

“I feel like I owe so much to him,” Thomas said. “There was nobody else that ever came out. Had he not heard me, I don’t know if I would be here. I’m so thankful.”

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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