News

Man still critical after assault at Caltrain station

Man, 47, shows slight improvements after being assaulted by at least nine attackers Friday at Redwood City station

A man who was severely beaten at the Redwood City Caltrain station Friday night has made slight improvements but remains in critical condition, a Caltrain spokeswoman said Monday morning (March 7).

The victim, a 47-year-old San Jose man, was attacked by a group of assailants who were trying to rob him as he waited for a southbound train at about 7:30 p.m., spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. Between nine and 15 suspects beat the man, Dunn said. He was left wounded on the ground and was later transported to a hospital. No weapons were seen during the attack, Dunn said.

The victim's family has requested that his name not be released, Dunn said. No arrests have been made in the case but transit police are "aggressively" investigating the attack because of the severity of the assault, Dunn said.

"Transit police have been working through the weekend and continue to make progress," Dunn said.

Anyone with information about the attack is encouraged to call Detective Victor Lopez at 650-622-8048.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Is-Caltrain-Safe?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Hopefully the details of this attack will be made public. It will be very instructive to find out when the victim first became aware of the presence of these men. Were they already on the platform, when the victim arrived? Did they walk toward him as a group, or surround him, like a pack of dogs? Were the attackers White, Asian, Black, etc.?

The victim might provide some insight to the public if there was any option for him to leave the platform, and avoid this kind of attack. Or anything he wished he had done differently to perhaps give him a better chance of escape.

This attack leaves all of us wondering if it would not be better to call 911 when in this sort of situation, and perhaps have to look a little silly when the police arrive, versus being attacked like this poor fellow, who might have thought that this pack of thugs were not going to harm him.





Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by CCW
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm

California needs Concealed weapons permits for law abiding citizens, these thugs must be removed from society at what ever cost, and it must be made known that this behavior is not acceptable. That being said, this sounds suspicious and I wouldn't be surprised if the victim is not so clean himself, or knew the attackers in one for or another. Only time and good reporting will clear this up. That being said I'm glad I left Palo Alto for a place where I have a constitutional right to protect myself from thugs like these. There is a level of respect and politeness when you wonder if the man next to you has a weapon, knows how to use it, and is willing to protect himself. All in all a better society without scum, who already have the means to obtain illegal firearms and don't care for the laws in place.


Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm

CCW, sometimes these gangs just pick some innocent person to beat up for initiations.


Like this comment
Posted by CCW
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Which will only add more fuel to the fire for the cause of concealed weapons being legal for law abiding citizens, lets wait and see how it all plays out. If you are right, which I hope is not the case as it would make the situation the most unfortunate, it only supports the case for concealed carry. I know I won't be a victim, but I didn't know that when I was living in Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm

CCW

You scare me with what you write. I do not want to be the innocent victim in a shootout on a train. It is much more likely that an innocent bystander gets hurt rather than anyone else when someone tries to protect himself with a so called legal weapon.

And then, if the owner of the legal weapon is not quick enough the gun is likely to end up in the hands of the bad guys who now have another weapon in their arsenal.

Bad idea at so many levels, regardless of all the arguments you make.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I suspect this is just another "parole violation".


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

John Lott's book "More Guns, Less Crime", documents trends in crime that seems to be moderated by the presence (or the possibility) of a gun being carried by individuals.

The following data from the NRA impressively documents the decrease of crime with the increase of guns:

Web Link

> I do not want to be the innocent victim in a shootout on a train

This concern is more illogical than not. The thrust of the data is that with "Concealed Carry" there would be fewer attacks on people (such as this gentleman). It's unlikely that this crew would have attacked this guy had he already been on the train.

As far as Caltrain safety is concerned: 1) there are no surveillance cameras at the stations, 2) there is no Caltrain security police presence at most (if any) of the stations, 3) when present, security police (at least here in Palo Alto) were authorized to call only local police, but not engage in any direct action to protect riders, 4) Caltrain crime statistics are not compiled and posted on its web site, 5) Caltrain employees have been recently arrested/terminated for sexual assaults on riders, 6) security police are accountable to only the Caltrain management/Board, 7) there are no "panic stations" (telephones that connect to the local 9110 available for riders to use in an emergency, 8) no warnings on platforms/trains that equipment for calling 911/emergency services are not provided by Caltrain (meaning a person without a cell phone rides the train at his/her own risk when events like this attack occurs).

Given that the head honcho, Mike Scanlon, makes about $400K a year, maybe that's why there is no money for equipment and communications services at the Caltrain stations to protect the general public.


Like this comment
Posted by Scared
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

It makes me not want to ride the train anymore!

I really hope they find the creeps who did this.


Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

I have NEVER seen any police or security guard presence at any CalTrain station. With all the foot traffic to & from Sequoia Station & across the tracks to downtown Redwood City, it's amazing that no one saw the gang before they attacked.people must have seen the gang before or during the attack.

I agree with "Is-Caltrain-Safe?" I want to know how to identify these thugs.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

> I have NEVER seen any police or security guard presence at
> any CalTrain station

Some time back (maybe 5-7 years ago), there was an attack on someone at the Palo Alto station. Caltrain responded by having a "security guard" assigned to the station for a while. (Don't know how long the guard was assigned, but do remember seeing him walking around the platform.)


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The RWC police station is not that far from the train station, and there are a lot of police in the area, and still it does not stop crime. Just like the man who was shot virtually in front of the police station in Palo Alto, criminals seem to have gotten the idea, and tested the hypothesis that they can if they want commit crimes blatantly in the public's eye and it is a good gamble that nothing will happen to them. Even if they do get caught they do not seem to be afraid of jail time.

When one group of creeps do things like this it emboldens others. I see one way to stop it, sadly because I don't and won't own a gun, is to have enough doubt in the minds of criminals that they will not take the chance.

The RWC train platform seems like it is in a place that is hard to patrol or get to if there is a problem ... ie behind the mall where Safeway is on El Camino.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

No security cameras anywhere? Hard to believe.


Like this comment
Posted by been there
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

This happened to me once in Minneapolis. There was a group of about 10. None of them were very big as individuals, so I didn't see them as that much of a threat. They surrounded me in a circle so there was no way to see all of them. Then, the guy directly behind me clocked me in the temple. I never saw him or his fist. I went down and they kicked me in the head and body while I was unconscious. They took my cell phone and cash and left.

I learned that it doesn't matter how big they are if there are enough of them. Once they form the circle: its on. Don't wait for the 1st punch. Charge through the smallest guy and keep going. Don't expect the police or bystanders to rescue you. Don't expect mercy either. The thing these types fear most is looking soft in front of their friends, and they'll do anything to avoid that. A few stomps on the head and you'll never wake up.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

If more and more people start carrying guns, I will not feel safer. I do not trust anything the NRA says about more guns creating a safer community any more than I ever trusted anything the tobacco industry said about the safety of their products. My experience is that when one has a gun, he is less safe, not more safe. I would rather have the thief assume I don't have a gun and just rob me than assume I DO have a gun and shoot me before robbing me, for his own safety. I know that the widespread availability of guns has not helped Mexico become more safe. I do not favor a return to the "shoot first and ask questions later" old west.

I don't consider myself to be an anti-gun nut. I own guns and enjoy firing them at the range. But I do not believe they belong in the pockets of everyone on the street, that's just crazy. There are people out there that I would not trust with a peashooter, why would I want them to be carrying a gun?

If you feel you must carry a weapon to defend yourself, think about pepper spray. No one was ever tried for murder for accidental use of pepper spray.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Now the mere mention that you got censored will get you censored again. How ridiculous.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

> If more and more people start carrying guns, I will not feel safer.

I understand your sentiment, but I think in reality, statistically once the bad guys know there are guns out there will not risk it, and your will be safer in fact, even if you do not feel safer. it's just the reverse of any time one of these attacks takes plce and people hear about it, it puts ideas in their heads, and especially if they do not hear about someone being caught and punished for it. When something like this happens, you are less safe ... so how else would you turn that around?


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

@ JustMe:

You wrote: "If you feel you must carry a weapon to defend yourself, think about pepper spray. No one was ever tried for murder for accidental use of pepper spray."

Pepper spray doesn't work well with a large gang of brutes and thugs. In addition, it doesn't work well when the other guy has a potentially deadly weapon.

While my husband was in college and working the summer as an intern on the east coast, he was attacked by a group of juvenile delinquents. They did the same thing that the others mentioned: They quietly gathered around him. When he didn't expect it, they blindsided him. My husband didn't even get a good look at any of them. All he knew was that there were probably about 10 of them and that they were yelling things in Spanish (using the word "gringo" several times) as they attacked him.

Thankfully, he was able to walk away from this senseless attack with a couple of broken bones and some stitches. In addition, a couple of the attackers were arrested (thanks to security cameras). The parents of these idiots insinuated that my husband must have somehow provoked the attack (even though he didn't know ANY of them...was new to the area...and didn't know anyone outside of his internship anyway). Anyway, three of them accepted a plea bargain that resulted in minimal prison time.

My husband didn't have a weapon. It probably wouldn't have helped anyway. After all, he was blindsided by these kids. It happened outside of a movie theater and he never saw it coming.

My husband did say that he wouldn't pull out a weapon in his own defense. However, he said that he would do whatever was necessary to incapacitate anyone who attacked me, a child, a defenseless stranger or a member of our family. I'm not saying that he would use a concealed weapon -- but he just said that he would do whatever was necessary to prevent the harm of an innocent and defenseless bystander. I think that this is commendable.

BTW, I hope that these animals are captured and thrown in the prison that they deserve.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

To person from Southgate - so sorry to read your post. Truly horrific experience. I am so glad that you surivived. I hope there were no lasting physical ailments. I've had some bad experiences as well & once they occur, you understand that nearly anything can happen anytime, anyplace, to anyone, even w/a low likelihood.

I really hope this man recovers & these despicable criminals are caught.


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

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