EMERYVILLE (CBS SF) — A 14-year-old and 16-year-old have been arrested for allegedly stealing a female shopper’s cell phone and then assaulting her and an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer who came to her aid at Emeryville’s Bay Street Mall, authorities said.
Emeryville police said the incident took place at around 8 p.m. on Nov. 29 while the busy mall was filled with Black Friday shoppers.
The woman had her cell phone stolen at the mall earlier in the day and returned to locate the perpetrators. She confronted a group of juveniles she believed were responsible for the theft and asked them to return her phone.
Instead, members of the group became aggressive with her and began assaulting her, police said.
“They were pushing her mostly with their hands, but they were pushing her pretty violently,” said detective Jaime Pardo of the Emeryville Police Department.
An off-duty CHP officer witnessed the assault and came to the woman’s aid, snapping cell phone pictures of the group.
The juveniles then turned on the officer, violently assaulting him. The juveniles struck the officer multiple times and choked him unconscious. The officer regained consciousness and pepper sprayed a juvenile who was actively continuing the assault.
“He was punched. He was kicked. He was taken to the ground. He was choked. He lost consciousness for a minute, came back, was able to defend himself,” Pardo said.
The whole attack lasted around two minutes, according to surveillance footage. Bay Street security workers helped break up the attack and contacted an Emeryville police officer who was 200 yards away at the nearby Apple store.
Emeryville officers arrived on the scene and detained several juveniles. Two of them were positively identified and arrested for the assault. Six other juveniles remain at large.
The off-duty CHP officer took himself to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the attack.
Shoppers at Bay Street told KPIX they take precautions when shopping, including wearing crossbody handbags to keep valuables safe.
“This is as much as I can do, having it in front of me. My phone is protected, my credit cards. You know, I feel a lot more safe,” said shopper Rachel Marando.
KPIX 5’s Andria Borba contributed to this report.