A man has been arrested on suspicion of felony assault and other charges for allegedly trying to stab Livermore Republican congressional candidate Rudy Peters at the Castro Valley Fall Festival on Sunday.
Peters, who was campaigning at the event, said the attack was unprovoked from a stranger who walked up with a beer in hand and shouted obscenities before trying to assault him and threatening to kill him while holding a knife.
"I don't know what provoked it," the first-time congressional candidate told the Weekly.
"This was a crazy person," Peters added. "I have no inclinations that this is some Democrats trying to get me. I think it was just some crazy guy."
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office has identified their suspect as 35-year-old Farzad Fazeli.
Fazeli, who lists his occupation as cashier, was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of felony assault, criminal threats, brandishing a weapon and possession of a switchblade knife. The case has been forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for charging, Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
Peters, who is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) for the 15th Congressional District seat, was not injured during Sunday's attack.
Peters said he was campaigning at the event on Sunday, just as he did the day before with a fellow Republican candidate, with no problems until around 3:30 p.m. when a man he'd never seen before aggressively approached his table.
"He started screaming 'F' Trump, 'F' Donald Trump," Peters said.
The man then grabbed a coffee cup off the table and tried to throw it at Peters but missed, at which point Peters said he got hold of the man and threw him to the ground without hitting him.
Peters said that when he stood back up, the man jumped up, threatened to kill him and pulled out a switchblade knife but couldn't get the blade to work correctly. Peters said he grabbed a sign to use as a shield, but somebody soon broke up the fight and the man fled the area.
Peters said he went to track down an off-duty police officer who spoke to him earlier at the event, and that officer contacted sheriff's deputies who arrived within seconds.
According to Kelly, deputies detained Fazeli a short time later at the festival and a switchblade knife was found in his possession. The Castro Valley man was arrested and later taken to jail.
Looking back Tuesday, Peters said he had no idea what motivated the attack. "It's not like he came earlier on and we had a heated discussion ... I'd never seen him before in my life," Peters said.
A Navy veteran and former Livermore Human Services Commission member, Peters is owner of AARD Solutions Inc., a systems engineering firm geared toward the U.S. intelligence industry.
He is facing off against Swalwell on Nov. 6 after finishing second behind the incumbent Democrat in the June primary election.
Swalwell tweeted, "I'm glad to hear Mr. Peters is okay. But it's NEVER okay to use violence to settle political disagreements (or any disagreement)."