Just before midnight, Monday, September 23, a young man in his early to mid-twenties ran up behind me as I was walking to my home in West Beach from work on Cabrillo near Castillo. He held me at gunpoint and demanded my wallet and phone. He was 5’6”-5’8”, 135-155 pounds, medium complexion, slight accent, wearing brown/tan shorts, a gray hoodie, and rubber red devil Halloween mask; he was also right handed as that was the hand the small caliber revolver was held in.
The young man, with weapon drawn, backed me up to the entrance gate of my home on Yanonali and demanded my wallet and phone. I was stunned. I had initially believed him to be a late-night jogger trying to pass me on the sidewalk as I turned toward my front door. I dropped my phone on the ground behind my entrance gate, which was latched, and that confused him. He then started toward me at the entrance to my home. My wife, 5-month-old daughter, and almost 3-year-old son were sleeping, and any stray bullets could have harmed them. As I was backed against the fence, I reached into my back pocket for my wallet, explaining I was giving him my wallet but there was no cash, just IDs and credit cards. Then, to block any stray bullets and feeling he was going to pull the trigger, I put my hand up to deflect any bullets and started advancing on him. He looked puzzled, shook his head, must have realized how much noise and how long this was taking and then fled down Yanonali Street toward Bath Street on foot.
I unlatched my front gate, grabbed my phone, walked out to the sidewalk to see if I could see him, entered my home, and called 9-1-1. The police responded in less than five minutes. Officers arrived with a police dog that started tracking a scent down Yanonali toward Bath. The officers searched on foot throughout the area, looking between houses and into backyards for at least a block in each direction, with their focus trained on trailing the police dog. They also drove around the entire neighborhood. The suspect must have left the area on a bicycle, by car, or immediately ran when his plan did not work out.
Two things I learned from this incident. First, be aware of your surroundings. I had a great night at work, was introduced to a new app on my phone by a coworker, and had my nose glued to my phone as I walked, whistling, to my home. I was unaware of anyone around me until it was too late. Second, do not resist a perpetrator when he has a gun pointed at you. I know this and would practice this under any other condition, but I was not thinking clearly and was thinking of my family’s safety. Be aware and cooperate. Things can be replaced; your family cannot replace you.