Police Arrest Suspect for Attempted Murder After Downtown Stabbing

Published on August 18, 2021

Palo Alto, CA An adult female suspect randomly attacked a juvenile female victim on a downtown Palo Alto street this morning, stabbing her with a knife.  Witnesses disarmed the suspect and detained her until police arrived.  The victim is in stable condition.  Police booked the suspect for attempted murder.

On Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at about 9:54 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received multiple calls reporting a stabbing that had just occurred on University Avenue at Emerson Street.  Officers arrived on scene shortly thereafter and took custody of the suspect, who had been detained and disarmed by witnesses to the attack.  The victim, a 16-year-old female, sustained major injuries to her upper body but was conscious and speaking with officers at the scene.  Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported the victim to a local hospital, where she remains in stable condition.

The investigation revealed that the victim was walking westbound on the south side of University Avenue, crossing Emerson Street.  The suspect walked up behind the victim, attacked her with a knife, and pulled her to the ground in the crosswalk.  The suspect then got on top of the victim and continued attacking her.  Two adult male Good Samaritans (both in their forties) physically intervened, with one of them tackling the suspect off the victim.  They were able to disarm the suspect and pin her to the ground, while other witnesses assisted the victim, until police arrived.  No one else received physical injuries.

The victim and suspect were not known to each other, and there was no prior contact between them before the attack occurred.  There is no known motive.  The knife used by the suspect was a small hand-held knife with a fixed 2½-inch blade.

Police booked 39-year-old Kenisha Monique Thomas of San Jose into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for two felonies, attempted murder and false imprisonment (for preventing the victim from fleeing the attack by getting on top of her).  Her booking photo is attached to this news release.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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