A Palo Alto woman who was attacked at the Opportunity Center is recovering from life-threatening injuries and her alleged attacker has been charged with assault with a deadly weapons, according to police.
A drunken man allegedly attacked the 60-year-old woman on July 19 while she was talking on her cell phone in the hallway outside her 33 Encina Ave. apartment, Palo Alto police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said.
Michael Rowe Guilford, 46, of San Jose was staying with a friend and had been drinking for more than a day, according to the police report. He became enraged that the woman was in the hallway and allegedly began swearing at the woman, punching and kicking her multiple times, Villaescusa said.
The woman was later identified as Vivian (Venus) Sarmago. Initially police believed Guilford had scratched Sarmago, who had minor marks on her forearm and neck. She declined medical aid because she had a later doctor's appointment, but she signed a private person's arrest. There were no known witnesses at the time, Villaescusa said.
Guilford left the Opportunity Center after the attack. Police found him at Town and Country Village Shopping Center in a pharmacy, where he was allegedly yelling expletives at a female employee. He was arrested and booked for being drunk in public, misdemeanor battery and a probation hold.
Later that day Sarmago went to the doctor and described her injuries. She was released from the emergency room after 20 to 30 minutes, according to the police report. While walking with her boyfriend that afternoon, she complained about having a headache. The couple later went to bed and fell asleep. When the boyfriend awoke, he realized that Sarmago was not looking well and could not be awakened. She was unconscious when paramedics arrived, and she was taken to the hospital, Villaescusa said.
Hospital personnel notified police, who renewed their investigation. They located a witness, who told police Guilford repeatedly hit and kicked Sarmago.
"He hit over and over again. Even when after she fell to the ground," Villaescusa said. Sarmago has been hospitalized with serious injuries since that time.
Guilford was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on July 20, Villaescusa said. He remains in custody in the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose.
Cynthia Alvarez, director of property management for Charities Housing Development Corporation, referred a request for comment to a spokeswoman, but that person could not be reached.
Opportunity Center provides comprehensive services for homeless people and 88 units of permanent, affordable housing.