News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Motorist Assaulted With Knife by Unknown Suspects
Contact : Kara Apple, Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Sketch of Primary Suspect
Palo Alto, CA -- A man who stopped on a neighborhood street to investigate trouble with his vehicle before midnight last Saturday was attacked by two men and cut with a knife in what police are describing as a random attack with no known motive.  The victim sustained moderate injuries to his arm.  The suspects are at large.

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, at about 11:36 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a 9-1-1 call from a passerby reporting that a person was injured and bleeding in the 100 block of Melville Avenue.  Officers arrived on scene within two minutes and located the 37-year-old male victim, a resident of San Jose, with moderate cuts on one of his arms.  Personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported the victim to a local hospital.

The investigation revealed that the victim was driving his vehicle southbound on Alma Street from University Avenue when a warning light illuminated in his dashboard.  He pulled off onto the 100 block of Melville Avenue and parked underneath a street light to inspect his vehicle.  Almost immediately, a sedan drove up and parked nearby.  Two male occupants got out and began walking towards him.  The victim said they were being loud and seemed to be joking with one another.  They began talking to the victim in English, but the victim does not speak English and could not tell what they were saying.  The primary suspect then produced a knife and charged at the victim, cutting him four times on one of his arms as the victim tried to protect himself.

The attack ended as quickly as it began, with the two suspects walking back to their vehicle.  The vehicle then drove away eastbound on Melville Avenue at a high rate of speed, and the victim last saw it making a left turn to head northbound on Emerson Street.  Almost immediately thereafter, a passerby arrived on scene and helped him by calling the police.  The passerby did not witness the assault.

Detectives are investigating the case.  At this time, there is no known motive for this crime.  The suspects did not rob the victim, nor did they make any attempt to take his car, nor is there any evidence pointing towards any gang connection.  There are no similar crimes that have occurred recently in Palo Alto.

The victim described the primary suspect to be a Hispanic male, about 25 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 160 pounds.  He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and pants of an unknown color.  He had a light complexion, short black hair, and had a short well-groomed beard.  He wielded a pocket knife with a 3-inch blade.  The victim met with a police forensic artist, who produced a sketch of the suspect (see attached).  The victim could only describe the second suspect as possibly a Hispanic male in his twenties.  The victim described their vehicle as a black sedan.  The victim said a third person remained in the vehicle during the assault, but he was unable to see that person well enough to describe them.

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 or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.