PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A woman was arrested in Palo Alto following a brutal stabbing attack on a teenage girl in the city’s downtown area, police said.

The incident happened on University Ave. at Emerson St. just before 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. According to Palo Alto police, officers responded to multiple calls about a stabbing and arrived to find a 16-year-old girl with major injuries to her upper body and a woman who had been detained and disarmed by witnesses.

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The victim was conscious and able to speak with officers. Paramedics arrived and took her to a local hospital in stable condition, police said.

The investigation revealed the girl was walking southbound along University crossing Emerson St. when the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Kenisha Monique Thomas of San Jose, came up behind her and attacked her with a knife, pulling her to the ground in the crosswalk, police said.

Kenisha Monique Thomas (Palo Alto Police Dept.)

Thomas allegedly then got on top of the victim and continued attacking her when bystanders, two men in their 40s, physically intervened. Police said the men tackled Thomas and pinned her to the ground, disarming her of the knife while other witnesses tended to the victim until officers arrived.

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The victim and suspect were not known to each other, and there was no prior contact between them before the attack occurred, according to police. Officers recovered a small knife with a fixed 2.5-inch blade.

Thomas was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on attempted murder and false imprisonment charges.

Anyone with additional information about the attack was asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.


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