News


Caltrain seeks public's aid in assault investigation

Assault in Redwood City leaves man in critical condition; security increased following brazen attack

Caltrain Transit Police are asking for the public's help in an investigation into a robbery and assault that took place at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Redwood City Caltrain station.

A 47-old-year-old male resident of San Jose was critically injured during a strong-arm robbery by a group of nine to 15 assailants while waiting for a southbound Caltrain. The suspects fled before the police arrived.

The victim is listed in critical condition at a local hospital.

Investigators are following up on potential leads from witnesses and evidence collected in the case, including reports of a white compact that was seen leaving the scene.

As a result of the incident, Caltrain has increased security at the Redwood City station.

San Mateo County Transit police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Victor Lopez at 650-622-8048.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by RWC resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for passing on this info.
Some of the characters who hang out around the safeway at sequoia station seem sketchy. I plan to shop elsewhere that is safer.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I'm not a big gun nut, and don't own a gun myself, but it is this kind of thing that makes people nuts.

I just heard a report on this on TV, and they people should be careful, but the chances of this happening again are small. So that is what we are supposed to do ... rely on random chance that most people will not have a problem ... just one or two really unlucky people.

This is the same logic that permits the airport to remain open despite the near certainty that at some point there will be a plane crash into an inhabited area.

I don't want to walk around in RWC or even my own home town of Palo Alto relying on random chance to keep me safe. If I find myself in that unlucky circumstance, I want something to be able to do about it.

It seems our city and police figure just do not emphasize it and no one will know or care.

We all know that there have been robberies and shootings of people just walking in public fairly regularly, and no one wants to accept this, but what is there to do about it. Put up cameras and let people carry guns? I don't know, but having barbarian hordes of criminals being able to attack citizens with no fear of being caught should be unacceptable.


Like this comment
Posted by Surveillance-Cameras-Help-Solve-Crimes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm

There are only so many Caltrain stations ... and digital surveillance equipment is not very expensive. It seems that with a budget of $130M a year, Caltrain could have spent a few dollars installing equipment that would help to at least provide pictures of people involved in assaults on Caltrain passengers by now.

Caltrain management is inept. The sooner this system is closed, the better.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I agree, CCTV at stations and all places where people have to wait around makes so much sense. They are deterrants and they also can help to catch criminals. Otherwise, no one watches the footage but it is there for when it is needed.


Like this comment
Posted by video
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

Many Caltrain stations are in isolated locations. The Redwood City station is adjacent to a busy shopping center. I expect that the shopping center's surveillance cameras would have picked up something.


Like this comment
Posted by DailyRider
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

I live in San Jose and work in downtown Redwood City. I take CalTrain to and from work every day. I couldn't stop laughing when a CalTrain spokesperson was quoted as saying "This is a very unusual situation. We have almost 40,000 riders a day who have every reason to feel safe while riding Caltrain."

Almost everyday there are large groups of what I would describe as unsavory people hanging out smoking and selling pot and neither the private security guards nor police do anything to keep them away long term.

And it was only a few months ago that a man was stabbed right across the street.

I'll end this by saying that I am over 6 feet tall, 200+ lbs. and do not scare easily but I try my best to catch a train out of Redwood City early enough so that there are still plenty of other passengers. I'll hazard a guess that the quoted CalTrain spokesperson has never waited for a train at Sequoia Station at 7:30 p.m. at night.


Like this comment
Posted by cctv
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

How can Caltrain afford CCTV at every station? One would assume such a luxury item could not find a place in a budget hole already too big to close. One would have to go outside the budget to make it happen, like if the top brass at Caltrain donated a part of their big fat salary to the betterment of the community.

Unfortunately, we all know that's not going to happen short of a miracle. Greed is behind the budget hole and greed is what's going to sink Caltrain eventually. You know what? The saving grace is that we won't have to read news of another victim at a Caltrain station when that happens.


Like this comment
Posted by Caltrainsafety
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

I agree with DailyRider. I was on the train in RWC when 6 guys boarded bragging aloud that they had just been released from jail. One of them was hassling a young woman who snuck off to another car. I did not feel safe.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

No general description of the assailants? With NOTHING detailing approx. age, sex, race and attire of the thugs, how are possible witnesses supposed to separate the chaff from the wheat?


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

I was on a Bart train on New Year's Eve on this side of the Bay the same day Oscar Grant debacle on the other side of the Bay. There was a fight on MY car too. We had kids with us, and no one came to break it up. Worse, it was in the part that is underground leaving San Francisco. It was terrifying. Fortunately a sharp jolt in the ride threw some of the little thugs off balance and they lost their 'cool' factor, so the fight ended abrubtly. I have not taken public transportation since. I see where public sentiment lies, and trust me, it's not in protecting the innocent bystander.


Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

@ Enough! - Ummm, maybe I misunderstand, but when the police are looking for witnesses to a crime, I think it is because witnesses are supposed to provide the descriptions. Judges tend to be (understandably) unhappy when the police tell witnesses what they were suppposed to have seen.

@ Surveillance et al. - I haven't done the math (and suspect you haven't either), but I would wager that the demonstrable risk to train riders is no greater than that of driving on the freeways. Feels less, but such feelings are often quite deceiving.

And of course, with the increased congestion, driving will be less safe for everyone else. There may be good reasons to shut down the train system, but I doubt that increased safety is among them.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

@Barron Park: There IS a witness to the crime. The victim. They said 'critically injured', not dead. Regardless, it's difficult to be a witness in the current climate. The rights of the perpetrators seem to be of more importance than that of any victims/witness.


Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

@Enough! If your point now is that some people are reluctant to step forward as witnesses, that may be true. That is not my experience, but it is also irrelevant.

As a society, we have concluded it is preferable to have the police investigate without leading witnesses to conclusions; you may want it otherwise, but I don't think that there is much doubt about that being the law of the land.

So in this instance, when police solicit witnesses, it is indeed appropriate to not tell them (witnesses) what they (the police) think they would have seen.

And, yes, of course the victim is a witness as well. I am not sure what might have suggested to you otherwise.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

@BarronPark: there are many things that go down in public places that people do not report, for a myriad of reasons. There is also a matter to which part of the crime a person may have witnessed. They may not know they are a witness at all! They may have seen an unruly group, but not the attack. They may not have witnessed the attack, but they could have been a block away and have seen a large group of __________________ moving hastily away from the train station. Since the attack already happened, and the only fact that a witness could state was a large group of _____________ was leaving the station, how could they know that event was related to a vicious attack on a victim? If there is a quantifying ID, such as a 'large group of young women,' or a 'group of young men in hoodies' etc, then someone who saw something similar to that on that night at that time and in that approximate location, may indeeed, become a witness. You can get vital clues to solve a crime by putting together facts that surround the event, not just by witnessing the actual attack.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough Trolls in the Comment Section
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Here's something "Enough" probably didn't consider. The victim is in critical condition. It's likely he was hit in the head, and quite probable that his injuries include a concussion. Ever dealt with someone who's had a concussion? They lose their memory for a period of time starting a little before their head got hit, and lasting minutes to hours. It happens to accident victims all the time. They can't tell you how the accident happened, even to defend themselves. He probably can't remember.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Oh for God's sake, if you are going to remove the content of the post, please remove the entire thing. When you leave the posters name but put your reprimand up, it makes it look like we are complete idiots who were resorting to TOS'able violations instead of having, as is allowed in most other sophisticated publications on the web across the country, a debate of differences.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

I agree there is too much arbitrary censorship on some of these boards, it is ridiculous, and there is no answerability or consistency.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Today Desean Damar Walker and Thomas Nicholas Furman had bail set at $250,000 ea .

They both have been charged in this case, and Mr. Walker had bail set at $250,000 just a couple of days ago for another robbery case.


Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

I believe that everyone needs to stop the violence and learn to respect one another. I also feel that to many programs have been cut from our schools and communities that allows for these young people to have to much free time on their hands and nothing better to do can lead to many misfortunant behaviors. I was a kid once and so were all of you. I was not the good kid, but I was not in the best of situations either. My behavior stemmed from mistreatment and no supervision. Lack of positive things to keep me busy. I never robbed or murdered anyone, but I did get into a lot of fights, steal from stores once and awhile and cause a little bit of trouble here and there. now these kids are lacking everything i mentioned including a recession. Parents unable to get them what they want and give them money to go and do something fun and productive. These guys are just lost souls that had no regards for their consequences and they do deserve to be punished for their actions. No one should have to live in fear, but there is no way around it. crime and evil behavior is all around us. it does not matter if you are waiting for a train, a bus, getting into your car, leaving or coming home, sleeping in your home, awake in your home, it does not matter in reality we are not safe anywhere these days, but why live in fear. We can not stop what is going to happen, only the person who plans to do the crime or attack can stop that. there are some good people out in the world still, but not as many as the corrupt. We are battling a battle that will continue until the end of the world. So all we can do is keep our selves and our families as safe as we can and always be aware of our surroundings. Many people are very ruthless and heartless these days and that is reality.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,695 views

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,619 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,287 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 801 views