A Republican congressional candidate in California fended off a knife attack on Sunday — and an election sign helped the candidate keep the attacker at bay, authorities said.
U.S. House of Representatives hopeful Rudy Peters was “minding his own business with his family” at his campaign booth during the Castro Valley Fall Festival just before 4 p.m. when a man came up and began insulting Peters’ political party and the president, Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, told McClatchy.
That’s when the interaction grew violent: The man making disparaging comments, Farzad Fazeli, 35, became “aggressive,” pulled out a switchblade and tried to attack Peters, the sheriff’s office said. Kelly said Fazeli may have also thrown a glass mug at the candidate.
But the knife malfunctioned, “in part because Mr. Peters was able to defend himself and stop the suspect from deploying the knife,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Peters used a campaign sign to defend himself during the struggle.
“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.
Fazeli was arrested on charges of possessing a switchblade, brandishing a weapon, criminal threats and felony assault, according to the sheriff’s office. Kelly said Fazeli remains at the Santa Rita Jail.
No one was seriously hurt during the encounter, the sheriff’s office said.
Peters is running to unseat Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell in California’s 15th congressional district, which runs east of San Francisco Bay.
According to a biography on his congressional campaign website, Peters is a U.S. Navy veteran who has called Livermore, California, home since 1991.
Swalwell posted on Twitter Tuesday saying he’s “glad to hear Mr. Peters is okay.”
“We’re just happy at the end of the day that nobody was injured,” Kelly said.