Victim recounts downtown attack during Los Altos Pokemon GO meetup

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Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A brawl broke out at the corner of State and Third streets in Los Altos Jan. 19, after a man who had harassed a woman online attacked her friend, a Los Altos Hills man who stepped in to defend her, according to a police report.

The Los Altos Police Department’s report on an assault and battery that occurred at a gathering of Pokemon GO enthusiasts last month in downtown Los Altos will soon land on the desk of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, according to Sgt. Brian Jeffrey.

The 29-year-old male victim, a Los Altos Hills resident, was attacked by a 32-year-old Cupertino man Jan. 19, the police report stated. The victim, who spoke to the Town Crier on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety and that of his friend – who he said was being harassed by the suspect – said the assault occurred early in the afternoon at the intersection of State and Third streets.

The victim said his friend, a 29-year-old woman, had been harassed online by the suspect for approximately six months, and he yelled at her from across the street that day. That prompted the victim to confront the suspect.

“‘Are you harassing my friend?’” the victim recalled asking the suspect.

That irritated the aggressor, who said he didn’t want the woman near his work (they were formerly colleagues), according to the victim.

“He hit on her, and she said, ‘I don’t like you (romantically) – he didn’t like that,” the victim said. “That’s when the harassing (began). She still has the evidence, all the messages.”

Before he knew it, the victim said the man had one hand around his throat and another clocked back to punch him in the face. He was pinned up against the wall.

“Of course, I just retaliated,” the victim said.

He recalled pulling the suspect to the ground, and they struggled for physical control of one another as a crowd gathered in front of Rick’s Cafe to watch. At that point, the victim said, he was on top of the other man, and concerned passersby told him to get off. The victim asked them to call police.

Witnesses to the initial attack told police that the suspect started the fight, according to the victim.

“I am going to file charges,” the victim said, showing the Town Crier photos of open cuts on his face and neck that he accused the suspect of inflicting.

The victim added that he also has broken bones in one finger, a result of “never learning how to punch,” he joked. He said the Cupertino man received medical attention and was released. His injuries are unknown.

Several people at the scene have reached out to make sure he’s OK, the victim said.

He added that the Pokemon GO community is made up of nice people he’s met by walking a loop of Pokestops – places in the online game that allow you to collect items, Poke Balls and Pokemon.

The female victim did not report the suspect’s online harassment to police, he said. He described the suspect as a person “who likely hates women that reject him.”

The victim noted that the Cupertino man has his friend’s personal information, including phone number and address, which could escalate the danger of the situation. The harasser had been sending her threatening messages through the gaming app Discord prior to the confrontation, he added.

“She really only has three options: to stand up for herself, to just wish it goes away or to keep enduring it,” the victim said. “She isn’t the type to (bring it) to police.”

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