A teenager was allegedly attacked from behind, accosted with racial epithets and stabbed with a screwdriver as he walked through a downtown Palo Alto garage Wednesday night in an incident that police are investigating as a hate crime.
The victim, a Latino adult in his late teens, was reportedly walking to his car in the Bryant Street garage, between University and Lytton avenues, at about 7:45 p.m. when he saw three men standing nearby and making disparaging remarks about his ethnicity, police said. After a brief verbal exchange, he walked past the three men to get to his car when one of the men attacked him from behind. As they struggled, a second man stabbed the teen in the thigh with a screwdriver, police said.
The three men, none of whom reportedly knew the victim, then ran away. The victim drove himself to a local hospital, where he was treated for a moderate puncture wound and released shortly thereafter. Police learned about this incident about 9 p.m., when they received a call from a hospital employee who reported that they were treating a stab wound that was sustained downtown earlier in the evening.
All three men were described by the victim as white males in their mid-20s, according to the police. The man who stabbed the teenager was described as a white male with a beard and a thin build. The second suspect was described as thin and clean-shaven, with a black T-shirt and peach-colored shorts. The third man, also described as thin and clean-shaven, reportedly wore a Stanford cap.
Because of the racial comments made by the men, police are treating the case as a hate crime investigation. Police said no similar incidents have recently occurred in Palo Alto.
Police have released sketches of two of the suspects and are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.