Solomon Wittrell speaks out after canal attack

SPU student athlete recovering at home

Kyle Morrison, Sports Editor

Solomon Wittrell was going on a run on the morning of Dec. 27. Witrell took the route he does every Tuesday, running southeast on the ship canal trail, which sits right next to campus. The business administration major, Seattle Pacific track and field sprinter and Wesley Cremona resident advisor said all was well until he turned around underneath the Fremont Bridge underpass, and everything went dark. 

“It was pouring rain. I remember turning around, and then after that, I remember waking up on the ground; I hit my head, I was bleeding. I grabbed my phone, which was in my pocket still, and called the cops,” Wittrell explained. “At first, I just thought I hit my head, so then I went to get up, and I was like, ‘oh, my stomach hurts,’ so I pulled up my shirt, and I saw I had been stabbed with something.”

Wittrell said that he normally runs with his phone in his hand, but because of the rain, his phone was in his pocket. Despite suffering multiple stab wounds, Wittrell had the presence of mind to call 911 and walk himself up the ramp that connects the trail to Nickerson street, where an ambulance picked him up and took him to the hospital. Witrell then went in for emergency surgery. 

“They said I had internal bleeding, and I had to go into surgery, so I went into surgery for four hours, and then I recovered in the hospital and came back home Thursday,” Wittrell said. “One of the punctures hit my liver.”

Despite having serious surgery, Wittrell is recovering well. He can already walk on his own. He says little things like standing up or bending over hurt him and he has a timeline of 6-8 weeks until he can return to physical activity.

Wittrell is still processing what happened to him, but what is most on his mind is trying to return to the community and activities he loves as soon as possible. 

“I understand I went through a crazy thing, but at the same time, I’m not really thinking about that; I am more just worried about graduating on time and getting back in form for track or being able to be RA again, that’s what I am really thinking about right now, those three things,” Wittrell explained.

Despite Wittrell’s desire to return to the SPU community, he understands that the road back is going to take some time, which is why he will not be returning to campus when the winter quarter begins on Jan. 4. Wittrell intends to return at some point during the quarter when he feels physically able to navigate campus and emotionally able to fulfill his many obligations in the community. 

It is the outpour of love and support he has received from his community that Wittrell believes has uncovered some light in a very dark time. 

“Overall the response is crazy. I mean obviously, you expect like your bosses at work or your RA supervisors or athletics, you expect them to reach out. Some of the other people you don’t expect to reach out, like old professors or just faculty,” Wittrell said. “Then you have people who reach out that you haven’t talked to in years and you’re like, ‘Woah!’ I didn’t think I affected that many people’s lives… It was a humbling experience for sure.”

In a KIRO 7 interview about the incident, Wittrell’s father hinted that he was worried foul play was involved. This is one of the reasons why Wittrell and his family had elected to remain anonymous up to this point. Wittrell does not believe he was targeted. 

“I feel like for someone to know my route is crazy because I don’t run that route every day,” Wittrell explained. “[Somedays] I am at the track doing a track workout. [Other days] I will be running that path, but it’s not at the same times. I don’t think I was targeted; I just think it was wrong place, wrong time.”

Wittrell has chosen to reveal his identity to spread awareness of his situation so other people do not make the same mistakes, which he believes made him an easy target. 

“When it comes to walking or running anywhere in Seattle, especially trails. I just want people to know to be aware of their surroundings and travel in groups of two or more. So that what happened to me doesn’t happen to you. Stay safe!”

According to SPD, anyone with information about this incident should call the Violent Crimes Tip Line at 206-233-5000.