I covered this story yesterday shortly after it broke. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of detail about what prompted the attack. The police statement said the man with the switchblade, later identified as Farzad Fazeli, “approached the victim in an aggressive manner and made disparaging remarks about his political party and elected officials.” But given that the intended victim, GOP candidate Rudy Peters, is a Trump supporter, I had a pretty good idea who Fazeli was ranting about. Today, Buzzfeed published a story confirming this was exactly what it sounded like, i.e. Fazeli began shouting “F**k Trump” at Peters and then attacked him:
A man — later identified by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office as 35-year-old Farzad Fazeli — walked by the booth and started screaming “fuck Trump, fuck Trump,” Peters said.
“Then he stops and he turns around and says, ‘I’ll show you,’ and he charges my table,” Peters said.
When Fazeli then hurled a coffee cup at the booth, Peters said he stood up and threw him to the ground, adding, “I didn’t hit or punch him, I just leg-swooped him.” But Fazeli allegedly came at Peters again.
“He immediately hops up, reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a knife,” Peters said. “He’s circling me and saying, ‘I’m going to kill you, motherf***er.’”
The other part of the story that wasn’t clear yesterday was what happened with the knife. The police statement said Fazeli’s switchblade had “malfunctioned.” According to Peters, he grabbed a wooden sign to use as a shield and struggled with Fazeli. Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, told a reporter for McClatchy that Fazeli wound up on the ground again:
“You’re dealing with a knife — a deadly weapon,” Kelly said. “Anything you can use, including a sign, would be a good option. It would provide you some level of protection.”
Eventually, Peters managed to bring Fazeli to the ground, Kelly said. He added that Peters was defending himself, and did not attack Fazeli.
Fazeli then fled the scene and “may have changed his clothes to disguise his identity,” Kelly said. But deputies were nearby at the fair and detained him.
“We found a switchblade knife on his person,” Kelly said.
So, somehow, the attacker never managed to get the knife to open, possibly because Peters was fighting back and keeping him occupied. Finally, if there’s any remaining doubt about motivated this, Buzzfeed notes that Fazeli’s Facebook site was full of anti-Trump messages:
On what appears to be his Facebook page, Fazeli wrote last year that Hurricane Irma, which hit the United States in September 2017, was “payback for voting for Donald Trump.” And earlier this year, he seems to have referred to Trump as a “white militia spokesman unofficial” and called for the president to be impeached or imprisoned.
The second post is from February and was obviously prompted by the Parkland shooting which had happened a day earlier:
So the guy who was furious over a lack of gun control doesn’t seem to have a problem with pulling a knife on a stranger.