SFPD now confirms it started as a random attack: police say 27-year-old Javon Knighten approached a senior citizen from behind and, unprovoked, pushed her to the ground.
Police say a 31-year-old woman saw it happen and thought it was a robbery, so she started following Knighten.
"Two other ladies were running with her out in the street, and one saw there was a police car in front of Walgreens," said Gary Thorn.
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Gary Thorn owns a business nearby and saw some of what unfolded.
"We saw the police officer with the two ladies going up the street. And we saw people gathering around on the corner, and I saw her down on the ground," he said.
SFPD says when the 31-year-old woman confronted Knighten, he stabbed her multiple times and kicked her before running away.
With the help of eyewitness accounts, officers were able to identify and ultimately arrest Knighten, who physically resisted.
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Police discovered that Knighten also had an outstanding San Francisco arrest warrant, and he was booked at San Francisco County Jail on multiple counts -- including attempted homicide.
Speaking Tuesday afternoon, SFPD says hate crime elements are being looked at for this case. The senior citizen who was initially attacked is of Asian descent.
"This crime, along with every other crime that we investigate, we look into that aspect if there is a hate related bias to that motivation," said SPFD spokesperson, Officer Robert Rueca.
SFPD says while an arrest has been made, the case is still open and anyone with any information is asked to called the police tipline.