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Nick Ut, photojournalist who made famed Vietnam War 'napalm girl' image, attacked in D.C.

The Pulitzer Prize-winner had received the National Medal of Arts at the White House the day before.
Image: Nick Ut
Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut visits Kim Phuc's house near the place where he made his famous Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of her as a terrified 9-year-old in Trang Bang, Tay Ninh province, Vietnam, on March 29, 2012.Na Son Nguyen / AP file

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who made the famed napalm girl photo during the Vietnam War was attacked in Washington, D.C.

The photographer, Nick Ut, was headed to dinner Thursday night with a friend when someone came up to him and punched him, NBC Washington reports.

“What happened last night, we had trouble,” he said. “I really don’t see that guy tackle me last night, and I hear yelling, but too late for me, and he punched me already.”

Ut, 70, who was born in Vietnam, said he fell to the ground and hit metal fencing surrounding a tree.

Image: Kim Phuc, center, runs down Route 1 near Trang Bang, Vietnam
Nine-year-old Kim Phuc, center, runs near Trang Bang, Vietnam, after an aerial napalm attack on June 8, 1972.Nick Ut / AP file

He detailed the attack in an Instagram post.

"He knocked me down and hurt my ribs, back and left leg. Same leg I have metal in from mortar in Vietnam War," Ut wrote. "Secret Service so fast to come over and help."

Mark Edward Harris, a fellow award-winning photographer and longtime friend of Ut, told NBC Washington, that he took a photo of Ut after the attack. He said the suspect was caught by police.

The day before the attack, Ut had received the National Medal of Arts award from President Donald Trump. The Secret Service did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday and it's not clear whether Ut was targeted or the attack was random.

Ut became famous for a 1972 photograph he made during the Vietnam War of 9-year-old Kim Phuc running down a street following a napalm attack.

After taking the photo, he rushed the girl to the hospital, where doctors were able to save her, according to The Associated Press.

Ut, who worked for The AP until he retired from the outlet in 2017, has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. He's the first journalist to receive the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the federal government.

Ut told NBC Washington that he plans on staying in D.C. through the inauguration to take photos.