Politics

California Man Curses Trump, Tries to Stab GOP House Candidate

Swalwell’s challenger Rudy Peters threatened with switchblade at local festival

Farzad Fazelli, 35, of Castro Valley, California, was arrested Sunday for trying to stab GOP congressional candidate Rudy Peters. (Photo courtesy Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

A Northern California man pulled a switchblade on GOP congressional candidate Rudy Peters and tried to stab him after shouting swear words about President Donald Trump on Sunday at a local town festival, authorities and the candidate said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Farzad Vincent Fazeli, 35, of Castro Valley, and have charged him with felony counts of assault and making threats and misdemeanor counts of brandishing a weapon and possessing a switchblade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Peters, a Republican who is challenging Rep. Eric Swalwell in California’s 15th District, was uninjured after the Fazeli’s switchblade malfunctioned, authorities said.

A man approached Peters’ booth at the festival in an “aggressive manner” and made “disparaging remarks” about Republicans and “elected officials,” witnesses told deputies, the Chronicle reported.

“All of a sudden we hear someone screaming, ‘F--- Trump, f--- Trump!” Peters told the Chronicle in an interview. The man raised his middle finger as he stood “right in front of the booth,” the candidate said.

After the standoff, the man appeared to be walking away from the booth, but then allegedly turned and ran back toward the booth, grabbed a coffee cup and threw it at Peters.

Peters grabbed the man and threw him to the ground. When the man got back to his feet, he allegedly pulled out a pink switchblade and shouted “I’m gonna kill you, motherf---er!” Peters said.

But the blade “wouldn’t shoot out,” he said.

Peters grabbed a sign from the adjacent cupcake booth, he said, to use it as a shield. But someone else intervened to calm the man down, and he left the scene.

Peters found sheriff’s deputies at nearby booths and reported the altercation. Authorities arrested Fazelli at a bank shortly after.

“It’s a shame,” Peters told the Chronicle about the incident. “People are just polarized right now, and this country’s divided and it’s just a mess. It shouldn’t be that way.”

Swalwell tweeted Tuesday about the incident, saying he was “glad to hear Mr. Peters is okay.”

“But,” Swalwell wrote, “it’s NEVER okay to use violence to settle political disagreements (or any disagreement).”

Swalwell is expected to cruise to re-election in the very liberal 15th district. He won re-election in 2016 by nearly 50 percent.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic.

Watch: Covering the Capitol: Adjusting to New Realities

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.