News

Police arrest Lytton Plaza stabbing suspect

'Good Samaritan' victim was attacked while trying to aid a woman

A man who allegedly punched a woman in the face and stabbed a Good Samaritan April 2 at Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto has been arrested.

Tofia Kavapalu Jr., 28, of East Palo Alto, who is 5-feet-11-inches tall and weighs 224 pounds, allegedly punched a woman in the face and then stabbed a Menlo Park man in the chest after he attempted to assist the woman that Saturday night.

The attack took place at around 10 p.m. outside of the Pizza My Heart restaurant on University Avenue and Emerson Street, Palo Alto police Lt. Scott Wong said.

According to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie, Kavapalu's girlfriend was arrested for drunk driving shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday (April 9). A police officer recognized Kavapalu when he entered the Mountain View Police Department at 1000 Villa St. to pick up his girlfriend, Wylie said. As Kavapalu and his girlfriend were getting ready to leave the police station around 4 a.m., police detained him and officers from Palo Alto arrived to arrest him on a $100,000 warrant.

He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and battery, Wong said.

Sue Dremann

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by SingingAllTheWayToJail
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm

C'mon people now...


Like this comment
Posted by Bertie
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm

"Mountain View police, who recognized him, picked Kavapalu up April 9 on a $100,000 warrant."

Looks like Kavapalu has a certain visibility with local PD's that doesn't come from attending the annual Policeman's Ball!


Like this comment
Posted by Names
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:32 am

It's interesting how many times I have read names of criminals here whose names have "Jr." or "III" as a suffix. Not upholding the family name for sure.


Like this comment
Posted by More-Surveillance-Cameras
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

One of the other local papers ran an article today stating that the "perp" walked into the Mountain View Police station to pick up his girlfriend, who was being detained, and was recognized from a flyer that had been distributed by the PA police. Certainly not the typical "bust", but one that puts an end to this matter without a lot of fuss, a high-speed chase, or a shoot-out.

It's a shame that downtown doesn't have surveillance cameras, so that a decent picture of this guy could have been available to the public so that all of us could have been "keeping an eye out" for him.


Like this comment
Posted by WoW
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm

What a winning power couple!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm


Good Samaritan's condition, please?

Has health insurance, I hope?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

GREAT JOB ... what a disgusting story ... I am sick that this can happen in prime time in the middle of downtown Palo Alto. How about a picture of the perp?

I really support having some cameras downtown to replay these kinds of things. If even one or two of these get by without being solved it just emboldens the thugs to think they can do crimes in the open - like we happen to see in the movies just about all the time - and get away with it.

We really have engineered quite a broken society these days ... why don't we start to realize it and pick up the pieces and fix it.

I am sure if I walked downtown and had some weapon for defense in case something like were to threaten me, I'd probably get arrested and have the book thrown at me. This is unacceptable that we seem to feel that as long as it only happens once, twice or some low number of times to just a few marginalized people that the rest of us are safe and don't need to do anything. We are looking at this all wrong in my opinion.

I would rather close the bars and have Pizza My Heart close at 10 or earlier than have crowds of people mobbing the streets that provide cover for this kind of criminal activity.


Like this comment
Posted by Aunty
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Sounds like the young man has been convicted without benefit of trial. Was the stab victim able to make a positive ID? Seems strange that he would voluntarily walk into a police station if he had committed the crime. I too would support cameras. While I absolutely detest the violence that is so common these days I think we should wait to persecute until there has been a conviction.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

> Too many of our young polynesians "look alike".

Judging from the news I read here and elsewhere, maybe they act too much alike as well.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Was the stabbing reported anywhere when it happened? Seems like I'd remember it and I don't.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I searched for stabbing and Lytton ... and there was quite a bit returned ... it seems like there is a lot of violence at Lytton Plaza. I walk down there every so often when I go for walks downtown, and often at night. I always see people acting weird and appearing to be drunk or making a lot of noise.

That area there is a lot of bars and clubs I guess and people hanging out late getting greasy pizza at Pizza My Heart ... ( I sure do miss Pizza A-Go-Go ... anyone remember that place?)

I wish they would close those areas down, there is always crime reported in that area it seems like to me.


Like this comment
Posted by Misunderstood408
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:01 am

Palo Alto especially University Avenue is the place to be when wanting to have a good time. (I would know because I've been to a couple of pubs/clubs here and there.) Unfortunately people are publicly intoxicated and free to act accordingly to an extent. However, this is a very disturbing event that happened. It's often that these acts occur due to drunken people being allowed to drink until incoherent and roam around town until acquainted with other drunken people. I mean how obvious and common can this situation be? I mean the Tofia guy has police allegations with little credentials of weather he committed the crime and is arrested. How sad is it that the suspect was not arrested that night, that it takes a couple of days until they find a suspect (Possibly racial profiling). For all we know the suspect is probably still free....And the victims what's their story? Yeah, you can clearly see the little imprint good samaritan attacked while trying to aid a woman. Are these victims a law abiding citizens trying to major a degree or make a difference in the community or another drunk playing the role and disrespecting people. (I say this because hence I've roamed the pubs/clubs and seen a lot of people always up to no good when drunk). I would say if two people are intoxicated especially of same or different race and gender there is a chance of harsh word exchangement bound to cause conflicts. Where I'm from guys are known to fight in packs and be gang affiliated for a reason that's not even worthy to exist. I sure know a lot now about this Tofia suspect and hope this victim is truly a victim and not a product of some lower than middle class society that likes to act tough. What is a victim these days when the role could be played both ways? Palo Alto police department has flaws with all the technology and smartphones, etc. How is it even possible for this to happen? Suggestion be on guard with eyes and ears, tell people its time to go home when at a hangout spot.


Like this comment
Posted by Neutral
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I would like to know what happened in the moments right before this incident took place. Did Tofia try to rob this women or what? This article does not explain anything leading up to this incident. Does the good samaritan and the women know each other? If so, we're they part of a large group of trouble makers? Was Tofia part of a large group of trouble of makers?, or was he by himself? Did Tofia try to defend himself? We're they all drunk? Hopefully there were a lot of witnesses. I also agree with having cameras.
My heart goes out to the victim and his/her family. GOD BLESS!
PEOPLE, THERE IS ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY.
"INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN QUILTY"


Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Friday and Saturday nights can be loud and raucous here when the bars empty out. There is too little police presence, and no accountability required for behavior on the part the people who are out drinking. It is possible to have both a lively AND safe area for people to walk around. We are so wound up in political-correctness in this town that reasonable, common sense concepts like cameras in public get shot down, and as a result, people continue to be the victims of crime. I am so tired of Downtown Palo Alto being every thug's shopping area. We have had too many crimes to close to the heart of the city for this to be coincidence. And cameras and increased police presence would cut down on all crime, not just violent attacks. Yes we give up some privacy, but once you leave your home, you have no presumption of privacy- you are in public. All people out for a good time have a right to be safe, regardless of where they come from. Ultimately business and the city have a vested interest in improving the situation: $$$$$ for the city and their business.


Like this comment
Posted by Incognito
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Who ever wrote this article didn't do enough research on the situation! But you obviously know how to make readers get engaged with your story! I wonder how many incedents in Palo Alto have to do with ALCOHOL!? Maybe theres a bigger issue here! Alcohol should be regulated or Banned. Its a mind altering substance! Marijuana is illegal?, but yet how many articals or stories have you heard of or seen that says a Man that was high on marijuana stabbed or punched anyone! I know it doesn't say anyone was drunk but this story doesn't state any facts except for someone was arrested. Alcohol is the biggest problem for this area. No Alcohol equals no stupidity among those that don't have common sense!


Like this comment
Posted by tofias REAL girlfriend
a resident of Stanford
on May 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

THIS ISNT THE ENTIRE TRUTHAOUT WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT AND THANK YOU TO THE PERSON WHO RESPONDED THAT THERE IS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY...THE PAPER DIDNT TELL THAT TOFIA HAD ALREADY BEEN ASSAULTED BY THE GIRLS MALE FRIEND OR THAT SHE ASSAULTED HIM...NOR THE FACT THAT THEY ALL WERE DRINKING THE NIGHT THIS INCIDENT TOOK PLACE... THERES A LOT MORE TO WHAT IS BEING SAID BUT DOES NT EXCUSE THE VIOLENCE...THE FEMALE THAT WAS PICKED UP WAS NOT TOFIAS GIRLFIND BUT JUST AN ACCUAINTANCE OF HIS AND HIS FRIENDS...TRUTH BE TOLD SHE COULD NOT HAVE A DUI BEING THAT SHES A TEACHER AND WOULD HAVE LOST HER CREDENTIALS SO SHE GAVE UP INFORMATION SHE ONLY HEARD ABOUT THE NIGHT OF THE INCIDENT....ITS ALL HEARSAY AND WAS AND IS A SELF DEFENSE CASE...THE VICTIM WHO WAS STABBED IS FINE AND SHOWED UP TO THE BARS A COUPLE DAYS AFTER THE STABBING...


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