CASTRO VALLEY (CBS SF) – A man was arrested on suspicion of felony assault and other charges after allegedly attempting to stab a Republican congressional candidate with a switchblade over the weekend at in Castro Valley, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
On Sunday, September 9, at approximately 3:45 p.m., deputies working at the Castro Valley Fall Festival were alerted to a possible knife attack at one of the vendor booths.
Deputies arrived at the booth and made contact with the victim, Republican candidate Rudy Peters, who is running against incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) for the 15th congressional district seat
The Castro Valley News first reported on the attack.
According to witnesses, 35-year-old Castro Valley resident Farzad Fazeli approached Peters at his booth in an aggressive manner and made disparaging, profanity-laced remarks about the Republican party and President Donald Trump.
During the incident, Fazeli allegedly pulled out a switchblade knife and attempted to stab Peters. The knife malfunctioned and the candidate became involved in a physical struggle with Fazeli, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly.
The suspect then fled the scene, but was detained a short time later by deputies and was found in possession of a switchblade knife, Kelly said.
Fazeli was arrested for felony assault, criminal threats, brandishing a weapon and possession of a switchblade knife and booked into Santa Rita Jail.
Peters wasn’t injured. Fazeli, who lists his occupation as cashier, was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of felony assault, criminal threats, brandishing a weapon and possession of a switchblade knife.
Kelly said the case has been forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for charging.
Peters talked to KPIX 5 about the frightening encounter Tuesday.
“He would have stabbed me,” Peters said. “I mean, he had it out saying, ‘I’m going to kill you MFer! I’m going to kill you!’ I could see his thumb trying to get the knife out.”
He said the encounters started with verbal threats.
“He picks up a coffee cup to rear back and throw it at us. And I jumped around the table. He throws the coffee cup and misses us. It hits the ground and breaks,” remembered Peters. “So I come out and grab him and wrestle him and throw him down to the ground.”
He said that was when Fazeli pulled out a knife.
“He’s screaming, ‘I’ll kill you MFer! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!’ And he’s kind of circling me trying to get the knife out,” said Peters
Fazeli made his first court appearance Tuesday for possession of a switchblade and threatening to commit great bodily injury or death. But Fazeli’s mother and attorney say he is the victim.
“My client at this point was afraid for his life and afraid for his health and safety. And I believe that it is alleged that he pulls out a folded knife. The knife was never opened,” argued defense attorney Frederick Remer.
Fazeli’s mother Dolly Adams was at the festival at the Democratic booth.
“Mr. Peters got physical first,” said Adams.
While she said she didn’t see what happened during the altercation, she talked to her son before he was arrested.
“He said that Mr. Peters has taken him by his shoulders and shoved him to the ground. And there was blood on him and blood on his booth,” said Green.
Peters said when Fazeli took out the knife, he shielded himself by reaching for one of his election signs for protection.
He said he never worried about his safety and the safety of his Republican supporters until now.
“I’ve asked my supporters and followers at open events, I don’t want them around me. I don’t want their safety in jeopardy,” said Peters.
On Tuesday, Swalwell posted on Twitter about the attack, saying he was “glad to hear Mr. Peters is okay.” He also discouraged the use of violence in any disagreement, political or otherwise.
Fazeli’s bail was set at $55,000. His family said they plan to get him out of county jail Tuesday night. He has a stay away order to keep his distance from Peters after the incident.
According to his campaign website, Peters is a founder and co-owner of AARD Solutions, a company that specializes in systems engineering and targets U.S. government intelligence agencies. He has lived in Livermore since 1991.