WASHINGTON (CIRCA) — Grace Maria says she was headed back into her office in Washington, D.C. when she noticed a homeless man involved in a confrontation with police.
The video begins with a police officer holding a gun toward the man named Anthony. Anthony is speaking to Grace as she records what is happening saying, "You see him trying to shoot me, I ain't done nothing to nobody." The officer then replies "on the ground" motioning for Anthony to lie on the ground.
Warning: The following video contains graphic language
Anthony is looking to Grace for support and asks her "You saw me sleeping right?" The police officer then asks Grace to move away from the scene because Anthony has a knife, but she continues to stay where she is. She pans her camera to show the knife Anthony possessed several feet away on the ground.
Anthony tries to explain to the officer that he doesn't have any other knives beside the weapon taken away by police. The officer then tells Anthony once again to get on the ground and is urged by Grace to do the same.
"This is not worth dying for, this is not worth dying for," Grace tells Anthony. "Just listen to him, this is not worth dying for. They're killing us out here. This is not worth dying for."
Eventually, Anthony cooperates with police and lies on the ground with his hands to his back. The 39-second video already has over 1 million views on Twitter. Grace, captioned the video "I literally think I just saved someone’s life."
Anthony is a homeless man in his early 20's who sleeps at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The man was profiled by a YouTube page dedicated to the homeless called Invisible People.
During the interview, which took place in March, Anthony said he's been homeless for two years and was placed in this predicament after his mom died from colon cancer. She was his primary provider, according to what he told the YouTube channel.
Grace is being hailed as a hero by many on social media who have watched the video.
Grace spoke to Circa via Twitter Direct Message and said that she used to be homeless as well, which is why she could tell he was too.
"It was traumatic for sure but I’m thankful it didn't get worse either," Grace said. "They said he had a knife but he’s homeless so he probably had it for protection."
She has started a GoFundMe page to help Anthony find a place to stay. She says he hopes to open up an orphanage one day as well as a feeding program.
"Anthony almost lost his life today but I’m glad that he didn’t. His life matters. All humans lives are precious. I used to be homeless and having people to support me literally saved my life. Please if you can, donate. Anything you can donate is enough," Grace writes.
In a statement, U.S. Capitol Police say Anthony has been charged with Assault on a Police Officer While Armed; Carrying a Dangerous Weapon; and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon.