Two stabbing incidents reported miles apart Thursday could be related, Fresno police reported. One of the victims might not be a victim after all.
The investigation began when a man was sent to the hospital after fighting off a would-be robber in northwest Fresno.
About 5:30 p.m., police said, they received a call of a robbery at the Starbucks near Golden State Boulevard and Herndon Avenue.
The suspect, wearing a mask, was armed with a knife and what witnesses believe was a fake gun. The assailant began threatening a clerk and demanding money from the register.
That’s when a customer, whom police did not identify, intervened and began to fight the suspect. The attacker managed to stab the customer in the torso, but the customer in turn wrestled away the knife and stabbed the suspect. The suspect reportedly fled in a brown truck, suffering from a few lacerations to his neck.
Flash forward 20 minutes later, when police received reports of another stabbing. This one involved a man bleeding by a canal near Fruit and Ashlan avenues.
The man matched the description of the suspect from the earlier incident, was seen near a brown truck and had cuts on his neck. His claim? He told police that he had been assaulted.
Police say they’re not quite ready to say for sure if it’s the same man.
For now, the customer was taken to the hospital and reported to be in stable condition.
The other man was listed in critical but stable condition, the police said. He is being detained by police pending the completion of the investigation, but could be facing charges of attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon if officers prove his connection to the Starbucks incident.