FRESNO, California (KSEE) — The man who allegedly stabbed three protesters near River Park Shopping Center left a child in his car during the attack, according to the Fresno Police Department.
41-year-old Jaime Fonseca of Fresno was arrested and booked in the Fresno County Jail. His bail was set at $20,000 and he faces several charges including three charges of assault with a deadly weapon. He also faces an illegal weapons charge for reportedly carrying an illegal dagger.
The altercation happened near the Blackstone and Nees intersection. Police Captain Mindy Casto said around 6:40 pm, a man got out of his car and confronted protesters that were blocking four lanes of traffic.
“He got out and approached them and basically ordered them to move out of the roadway,” said Casto. “They did not. It sounds like he went back to his vehicle and got a weapon and attacked the sign that they had.”
Fonseca allegedly tore up one of the demonstrator’s signs. That is when the altercation escalated. Casto said Fonseca had a wooden bat and a dagger, left a child in his car and went up to the group. Three of the protesters were stabbed.
“Minor stab wounds,” said Casto. “Two of them did receive treatment at CRMC.”
All three are expected to be okay. The demonstrators were part of the “Defend Armenia” protest that was organized to bring awareness to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
A Fresno City Spokesperson said the group did not have a permit to block the road.
Organizers sent this statement: “We blocked 4 of the 6 lanes to get the police department’s attention to stand with us and make the families protesting feel safe. This will not stop the Armenian community from spreading awareness and using our rights.”
Organizers said they reached out to the police before the protest but the department said they were not notified.
Casto said in the future demonstrators should stay on the sidewalks unless they have clearance from the city.
“Blocking the roadway is dangerous on a number of levels,” said Casto. “Obviously on this incident, it provoked violence but it can also cause a traffic collision and we don’t want to see that happen either.”
Casto does not believe it is a hate crime but instead called it a road rage incident. The child in the car is safe and with family members.
Full statement from the protest organizer below: