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Pauley Perrette

Chris Weeks/Getty Images for American Humane Association

Pauley Perrette was attacked by a homeless man while walking on the street—and now it's one of the main reasons why she continues to champion for the homeless community. 

The actress, who is most well known for her performance on NCIS, was physically assaulted and threatened by a stranger in November while walking to meet an architect regarding a new guest house she had purchased. The attacker, who identified himself as William at the time, suddenly grabbed her forcefully on the street, punched her in between the eyes and threatened her life, the star described. 

"I wasn't thinking, I was praying," she recollected in an advice piece for Motto. "The only thing I did, after a while, was say, 'William is a beautiful name. I have a little nephew named William.' He drew his fist back for one more punch and then said, 'Get the f--k out of here.' And I did."

After being arrested for felony assault, the Los Angeles district attorney charged the man, who was later identified as David Merck, with one count of criminal threat and one count of false imprisonment by violence, both of which he pled not guilty. He is being held in jail on $60,000 bail. 

Despite the violent encounter, Perrette could not help but empathize with the man who threatened her life. 

"My heart broke for him. My tears that night were for him. I had looked into his eyes. There was nothing there. It seemed like his soul and his humanity were gone," she wrote. "He was out on the street without resources. It was a consequence of our failure as a society to take care of our mentally ill and impaired homeless community."

Pauley Perrette, Grammy Awards

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Unlike what many would expect from an experience like this, Perrette does not bear any ill will toward her attacker. 

"Of course I forgive him. I have no anger, only sadness. He didn't know who I was, he didn't know who he was," she continued. "He is very confused, he's homeless and he needs help."

Ultimately, the experience has helped her solidify her commitment to improving homeless life and preventing a future attack like the one she faced. 

"I learn. I pray. I forgive. I move on. I move to change things. To help. To help the 'Williams' and the 'Davids' of our communities—before it becomes an assault just after 5 p.m. on a Hollywood sidewalk."