Palo Alto police on Friday were looking for two men who they said assaulted a motorist who was having car trouble on a usually well-traveled roadside last weekend.
"[I'm] surprised it happened in this neighborhood," said resident Stan Shore. "It's normally a very quiet neighborhood."
The 37-year-old driver from San Jose was driving on Alma Street from University Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night when his car warning light went on.
He pulled over on the 100 block of Melville Avenue in Palo Alto and parked under a street light.
Investigators say a dark-colored sedan pulled up almost immediately and parked nearby. Police said men described as Latino and in their 20's, got out of the car and started speaking English. The victim, who is also Latino, does not understand English.
"The victim didn't know what they were saying, " said Palo Alto Police Officer Brad Young. "As they approached him, the primary suspect produced a knife, assaulted the victim and cut him four times."
The suspects drove off in their car. The victim suffered moderate injuries.
Police said what makes this incident unusual is that there was no apparent motive.
"They didn't attempt to rob him. They didn't attempt to take his car," said Officer Young. "There's no evidence to suggest it's gang related."
Investigators hope someone will recognize the primary suspect from a sketch released by the department.
He is described as Latino, about 25 years old, 5'6" tall, 160 pounds, with short black hair and a short, well-groomed beard.
Police were calling the random act of violence an isolated incident.
"That's really frightening to hear about because that could happen to anyone," said college student Janet An.
Alma Street is a well-traveled thoroughfare in Palo Alto, and police are asking anyone who may have seen something last Saturday night to call them.
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