An altercation involving a couple, a suspect with a knife and a bystander occurred at the Pacific Avenue San Joaquin Regional Transit District bus stop near campus on Oct. 4.
An argument broke out between an unidentified couple, and suspect Damon Wilhite, 58, of Woodbridge, pulled a knife, brandishing it without physically threatening anybody, according to Delta College Police Officer Sgt. Jim Bock.
The couple fled the scene toward campus while a bystander sneaked up behind Wilhite and put him into a choke hold while also getting the knife away.
The bystander, who police did not identify, then proceeded to put his weight on the suspect until Delta police arrived.
The altercation transpired without any injuries occurring to any party.
Wilhite was charged with possession of a weapon on campus and was subsequently arrested.
As for the victims, it is still unclear who they are and if they’re even Delta students.
“They immediately left the area, they went somewhere on campus, but we don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they went, so we don’t have any way of identifying them unless they come forth and say something,” Bock said.
Delta student and mass media major Robert Ruiz stumbled upon the scene while on his way to Starbucks and quickly took out his camera to document the scene.
“I saw a milling of students circled around at the bus stop on the corner of Pacific and Yokuts [avenues] that’s in a gray area of being on campus, so I was interested to see what was going on. I saw a man laying on another man, and he was directing the students to stay there as witnesses for when the police arrived, so I immediately knew something was wrong and I took out my camera and started taking photographs,” Ruiz said. “[The suspect] was screaming and yelling, but the man who had him in a headlock was a bigger gentleman, so he was using his weight to hold the attacker down and had him controlled.”
One thing Bock noticed was the number of students gathering to film the altercation.
“There were a lot of people from what we understand, just doing the typical thing in this day and age: taking pictures. They don’t want to be associated with it, but they want to post on social media that things are going down, and I really have a problem with that,” Bock said.
“You’re basically grandstanding what could be a tragedy for the sake of getting social media hits.”
Bock said students should take steps to prevent a possible tragedy.
“What they should be doing is immediately picking up the phone and contacting the police department so we can get there as quickly as possible, and luckily somebody did,” Bock said.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, Bock suggests that you remove yourself from the situation as quickly and as safely as possible and contact campus police.
“I wouldn’t recommend trying to engage the person” said Bock. “It’s easy look at somebody and say [I can take him], but you really never know their abilities until you’re in that moment.”
“The best thing you can do is just disengage and contact us immediately and give us the best description of the suspect you can,” Bock said.