2 Arrested After Palo Alto Street Fight Leaves Victim in Critical Condition With Severe Head Injuries: Police

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Palo Alto Police Department

Two men were arrested after a late-night fight on a sidewalk in downtown Palo Alto this past weekend left a man in critical condition with severe head injuries, authorities said.

Neil Brian Rotroff, 28, of Cupertino, is accused of knocking out the victim with a single blow during an altercation about 2 a.m Sunday morning, shortly after bar-closing time, police said in a statement released Wednesday. He faces a single felony assault charge of assault with a deadly weapon: his fist, according to Palo Alto police.

The victim, a Palo Alto resident in his 20s, is yet to regain consciousness, police said.

Police said they had previously been called to the scene, near City Parking Lot O at 460 Emerson Street, to break up a fight. The parties involved were dispersed, but the two sides apparently reconvened when officers left the scene. A few minutes later, when officers responded to reports of a man unconscious on the sidewalk, the alleged assailants tried to flee.

But police eventually tracked them down.

Rotroff’s alleged getaway driver, 21-year-old Akshay Vijay Mastakar, of Sunnyvale, is also facing felony charges. Police booked him for three counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon: one count for his role as the getaway driver, and two more for allegedly swerving his car toward two officers who had been trying to stop him.

Police said, if the victim’s condition changes, the charges against both suspects could be changed as well.

The entire assault was recorded by a police dash-cam mounted inside an unoccupied patrol car parked down the street. That video will not be released publicly, authorities said.

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