NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — “NCIS” actress Pauley Perrette was speaking out Friday following a frightening attack.

Perrette is a fan favorite as forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on the CBS action-drama “NCIS,” helping her team investigate crime. But in real life, she became the victim of a terrifying assault Thursday night in front of her Hollywood home.

The “NCIS” star tweeted that she thought she was going to die and said, “So, tonight was awful, life changing and I’m only grateful to be alive.”

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As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, the crime in Los Angeles stunned family and friends in New York, where Perrette co-owns Donna Bell’s Bake Shop at 301 W. 49th St. in Hell’s Kitchen.

“Wow,” said “NCIS” fan Bill Best. “I don’t know, I hope she’s all right.”

Perrette spoke exclusively to “Entertainment Tonight” Friday. She said a psychotic homeless man jumped her Thursday night while she was walking on her block.

“He punched me in the face — like, clearly, my face is a little swollen and my nose is a little red – and pinned me down – pinned me down by my arm. He told me he was going to kill me,” Perrette told Kevin Frazier.

Perrette first wrote about what happened on social media. She tweeted that she called a friend who tracked the man and led police to him a few blocks away.

Los Angeles police officer Jane Kim confirmed that the actress’ account of the attack was accurate.

(Warning: Profanity in tweet)

Perrette said the attacker identified himself as William, which prompted her to say “William is a beautiful name, I have a nephew named William.” Police said this statement saved her from continually being assaulted, CBS Los Angeles reported.

After the attack, the actress said she collapsed in the street in shock of what occurred, CBS Los Angeles reported.

“I texted my friend next door and my church friend cop,” Perrette added. “I immediately drew a police sketch of the guy who was headed towards Hollywood Boulevard with murder in his eyes.”
Frazier stressed that Perrette feels that she was randomly targeted. She does not blame her attacker nor does she hold ill will against him, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Matthew Sandusky co-owns Donna Bell’s Bake Shop with Perrette and said she called to tell him what happened. He said he was just glad she wasn’t seriously hurt.

“I lived there for 15 years. She’s my best friend. So I’m 3,000 miles away and you get that helplessness like I wish I was there,” he said.

Perrette ended her Twitter post by writing in part, “We need full mental health care. We need housing and help for the homeless. We need to support our cops. We need to not walk alone.”

Sandusky said he’s not surprised that despite being attacked, Perrette is still thinking of others.

“That’s Pauley, that’s typically Pauley. That’s why we love her. She puts everybody before her, always, always, always,” he said.

The Los Angeles Police Department said 45-year-old David Merck was arrested and charged with aggravated battery in the incident. Bail was set at $100,000.

You can see more of Frazier’s exclusive interview with Perrette on “Entertainment Tonight,” at 7:30 p.m. on CBS2.

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