Liquor store attack: Stabbings and sword slashes shake up Fremont shopping center

FREMONT — Dried blood spots that stained the sidewalk outside CJ’s Liquors in Fremont were power-washed away early Wednesday, days after a group of four people armed with knives and a curved sword violently attacked and brawled with several others near the store’s cash register Sunday night.

The chaotic incident — which lasted less than a minute and was captured on dramatic surveillance footage — has shaken up locals and business owners near the longstanding liquor store on Stevenson Boulevard in the city’s Sundale neighborhood.

“It was just chaos, simple chaos,” Rick Reboca, who owns Rick’s Sundale Barber Shop a few doors down, said of the attack after he saw the surveillance footage.

“We don’t need this around here, man. This is a peaceful place. I’ve been here for 45 years, and I’ve seen a few battles out here, but nothing like this. That was some pretty scary looking stuff Sunday night.”

Diadem Velcu, 27, of Fremont, who was arrested soon after the attack, is being held in Santa Rita Jail on no bail, on charges of predetermined attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment by violence, according to county records. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

A second suspect required surgery, according to police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques. He will be booked on charges once released from the hospital, she said. Two minors will also face charges for their role in the incident, Bosques said.

The two victims were hospitalized but were expected to survive, police said

Police said the attack was targeted and the two men who were ambushed “had previous history” with their attackers, but authorities haven’t yet clearly spelled out what prompted the incident.

Surveillance footage from inside the store Sunday night shows a normal scene, a little after 10 p.m., as two men come into the store. One grabs a bottle of liquor and puts it on the counter, while the other comes to the counter with more items. Two other men enter the store and begin filling water jugs in the corner of the store.

Then four people, including one holding a curved sword, walk in and confront the two men at the counter. The person with the sword slashes at the back of the man at the counter, then holds the sword high above his head as the man at the counter is grabbed and placed into a chokehold by another person.

Two other people rush into the store to try to break up the fight, and the person holding the man in a choke position repeatedly stabs the man in his grasp who then falls to the ground. Blood is visible on the attacker’s forearm.

The two groups continue fighting, throwing punches and pointing knives, with some people crashing into the store shelving. Another person comes into the store and tries to hit the person with the curved sword with what appears to be a bat, while he is being pulled out of the store by another person.

The cashier, who is the wife of the store’s owner, appears terrified, trying at one point to calm the dispute  before retreating behind the counter and clutching her chest, and picking up the phone.

The man who was repeatedly stabbed manages to get a knife in his hand and the fight starts to wrap up, and the people who began the attack leave the store after a few more punches are thrown, while those who were attacked linger in the store.

Jaswant Kang, the owner of CJ’s for about 25 years, said in all that time, he hasn’t seen something so violent happen near his store, let alone inside it.

“Never, ever,” he said.

Kang said in an interview Tuesday the two men who were attacked are “very good customers” of his store.

“They’re very respectful. They call my wife ‘mama,’” Kang said. “I don’t know why they were fighting.”

Kang said his wife was very scared during the incident, but is OK. He and his wife are mostly concerned about the people who got hurt, he said.

“They should not be fighting,” he said. There is no good that could come from it, he said, noting the arrests and the injuries. “I want them to think about what they are doing.”

Rick Reboca’s son, Clayton Reboca, who also works at the barber shop, said the shopping center is very quiet during the day, but can sometimes take on a different feel late at night. He still feels shaken by the incident.

“It was too close to home,” he said. “It just kind of hit me.”