Man beaten to death while trying to protect woman being sexually assaulted in Arlington

Michael Nash. (Photo, Arlington County Police)

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - A man was beaten to death when he tried to stop a suspect from sexually assaulting a woman in Arlington overnight, according to authorities.

Arlington County Police said they were called to the scene Thursday at 13th Street South at South George Mason Drive around 9:21 p.m. Officers say 27-year-old Michael Nash was walking in the area with the victim when he started physically and sexually assaulting her. Police say 54-year-old Patricio Salazar of Arlington saw what was happening and tried to help the woman.

That is when officials say Nash allegedly beat Salazar unconscious and then fled. Salazar was taken to George Washington University Hospital and pronounced dead, according to police.

Witness Bradley Flood told ABC7 he saw the woman naked and Nash with blood on his fists. He says the woman told him Nash was her boyfriend and that he had snapped and tried to rape her.

Flood says he talked to Salazar during some of his final moments before losing consciousness.

“I could talk to him a little bit and I could tell that he was hearing me," Flood said. "I was telling him you’re a hero. You saved her and stuff and he would make noise and say he could hear me but then it dropped pretty quick after that.”

Authorities say Nash got in a fight with two more victims after he unsuccessfully tried to steal a cell phone. Police say he fled again before successfully stealing a female victim's cell phone. Nash was later arrested in the area of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.

Nash is charged with Abduction with the Intent to Defile, Forcible Sodomy and Animate Object Sexual Penetration. Police say they are holding Nash at the Arlington County Detention Facility without bond and that more charges are on the way for this incident.

ABC7's Cheryl Conner reports that the fire department also responded to the scene of the initial reported attack and hosed down the road around some food trucks.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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