Police: Man attacks strangers with pickax, sledgehammer

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield man attacked two strangers with a pickax and a sledgehammer Tuesday.

Officers booked the suspect into the Lane County Jail on charges attempted murder, among other charges.

The suspect's brother said family members have urged him to get mental health treatment.

Police dispatch received a 911 call just before 4 p.m. Tuesday from Springfield residents Lynette Sellers, 45, and Katherine Miller, 47, reporting that they were being threatened by a man carrying a hammer and a pickax on South L St. in Springfield.

Thomas Robert Murphy

The call was disconnected when the man, later identified as Thomas Robert Murphy, 34, of Springfield, swung the pickax at Sellers and knocked her phone to the ground, Springfield Police said.

Police officials said that Murphy then hit Miller in the side with the ax. She was taken to McKenzie-Willamette Hospital for treatment.

Officers said Murphy ran away from the two female victims as soon as police arrived on scene. Murphy was caught about a block away.

Police said the victims did not know their attacker.

The women told police they were walking along the sidewalk past Murphy's residence on L Street when he started to chase them with a hammer and pickax. The victims didn't know Murphy before the chase ensued, officials said.

Murphy was booked at the Lane County Jail on 2 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of menacing, 2 counts of physical harassment, interfering with police, criminal mischief and reckless endangering.