Noel Corpuz, 45, made an initial appearance in San Francisco Superior Court today on charges including attempted murder of a police officer, but did not enter a plea.
Corpuz was arrested Tuesday after an attack on the officer, identified today as Officer Andre Sirenko, on the Essex Street on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 80 that left Sirenko with life-threatening injuries.
The incident occurred after the CHP was alerted around 9:30 a.m. of a pedestrian on the on-ramp.
Two officers made contact with two males at a homeless encampment alongside the ramp a short time later, and during that contact, Corpuz allegedly attacked Sirenko before running away, according to the CHP.
The second officer chased after the suspect, but dropped the pursuit when he realized that his partner was badly injured.
Sirenko, a seven-year veteran of the force, had been slashed across the throat and arm with a knife. He was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He remains in the hospital but is stable today after undergoing surgery, according to the CHP.
Based on descriptions from witnesses and the other officer, Corpuz was located a short time later in a Wells Fargo Bank near Fourth and Brannan streets and was arrested after a struggle in which he tried to grab an officer's firearm from its holster, according to San Francisco police. A knife was also recovered at that location.
Around a half-dozen CHP officers showed up in court today in a show of support for their fellow officer. CHP Officer Vu Williams said the department was confident that San Francisco police had conducted a thorough investigation.
"We will let the justice system do its job," Williams said.
He said Sirenko was part of a patrol responsible for the security of state property, including enforcement efforts on homeless encampments such as the one found by the on-ramp.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said his office was assigned to represent Corpuz today and would be investigating to determine what happened.
Adachi noted that the incident, which he called "tragic," came at a time of high "tension" between homeless people and the community. Recent news coverage has focused on the increased visibility of tent encampments and allegations that the city has relocated the homeless to make way for Super Bowl events.
"So this is coming at a time when the city is particularly challenged in how to respond to homelessness," Adachi said.
District Attorney's Office spokesman Alex Bastian said a number of homeless people have cooperated with police in the investigation.
"So it's very important to never judge a book by its cover," Bastian said. Corpuz is scheduled to return to court to possibly enter a plea on Feb. 9.
CHP officer in surgery after being stabbed multiple times. "Doing good" & "expected to survive", says SF police pic.twitter.com/A7PpsyBrNW— Juan Carlos Guerrero (@JuanCarlosABC7) February 2, 2016
New details on CHP officer attacked in SF - stabbed in throat by man disrupting traffic. Injury "significant". pic.twitter.com/GJekQKct64— Juan Carlos Guerrero (@JuanCarlosABC7) February 2, 2016
Reports on scene that chp officer suffered knife wound to throat. He is at SF General pic.twitter.com/8oBY37neJw— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) February 2, 2016
Ambulance taking injured CHP officer to SF General with police escort. Dozens of officers outside hospital. pic.twitter.com/C3xpzi2En6— Juan Carlos Guerrero (@JuanCarlosABC7) February 2, 2016
Tuesday morning excitement: suspect in CHP officer stabbing arrested outside my office. pic.twitter.com/bZ4ELBDwjz— Emily Seip (@emilymseip) February 2, 2016
Poice officers maintaining vigil outside SF General. Expecting information soon on condition of stabbed CHP officer. pic.twitter.com/TkfaYKy6lj— Juan Carlos Guerrero (@JuanCarlosABC7) February 2, 2016
some serious shit going down at starbucks. pic.twitter.com/XeZIlfBaUR— ryan (@ryan505) February 2, 2016
Also avoid the area of 4th street. Closed at Bryant and Brannon. Related to CHP incident— Albie Esparza (@OfficerAlbie) February 2, 2016
Suspect in custody. Streets closed for follow up investigation. Please avoid the area for now.— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) February 2, 2016
Essex on ramp to Bay Bridge closed. Traffic a mess. Chp Officer condition unknown. pic.twitter.com/3aiWNLeEgT— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) February 2, 2016
Sources tell me CHP officer has been stabbed in SF by homeless man; just arrested. Story on ABC7 midday news at 11. #ABC7now— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) February 2, 2016
CHP officer assaulted by a man with a knife at Bay Bridge,Essex at Harrison. Happened near homeless encampment pic.twitter.com/WNoBCONZPM— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) February 2, 2016
4th street now blocked. And hello, bomb squad! pic.twitter.com/lcQyWXYWgZ— TimOfLegend (@TimOfLegend) February 2, 2016
Bay City News contributed to this report.