A suspect allegedly attempted to rob a man on a quiet residential street in San Leandro early Thursday morning, but was killed during an encounter that police believe was a justifiable homicide, police said.
Officers responded at 12:47 a.m. to reports of a fight in progress in the 1200 block of 143rd Avenue and found two men suffering from stab wounds, San Leandro police Lt. Ron Clark said.
Both men were taken to hospitals but the suspect, a 22-year-old man, died from his injuries, Clark said.
The apparent robbery victim, a man in his 30s, initially was listed in critical condition but has since been upgraded to serious but stable condition, he said.
Clark said the victim and the suspect both lived in the vicinity of the 1200 block of 143rd Avenue, which is near Heath Park and several apartment buildings, but apparently didn't know each other before Thursday's crime.
The victim had just finished his work as a driver for a ride-booking service and was talking on his cellphone as he walked from his car to his residence, according to Clark.
A police investigation indicates that the suspect was hiding in bushes waiting for someone to rob when he spotted the victim.
He said the suspect jumped out of the bushes, pulled out a knife with a 10-inch blade and tried to take the victim's cellphone and wallet, but the victim fought back.
The victim then threw his wallet in one direction and ran in another direction but the suspect followed him and a fight over the knife ensued, according to Clark. The victim was able to gain control of the knife and stabbed the suspect in self-defense.
"You're allowed to defend yourself and it appears on its face that that's what the victim did," he said.
However, he said San Leandro police will submit a report on the stabbing incident to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to make the final decision on whether the stabbing was a justifiable homicide.
Clark said the Alameda County coroner's bureau has identified the suspect but police aren't releasing his name at this time pending notification of his family.
Referring to the suspect, Clark said, "One person made a bad decision and now a family is grieving and my heart goes out to them."
Clark said the victim didn't lose any items during the attempted robbery and the knife that the suspect allegedly used has been recovered. He said the area where the stabbing occurred doesn't have many calls for service and the stabbing was an isolated incident.
The stabbing is still under investigation and Clark said anyone with information about it is encouraged to call the Police Department's criminal investigation division at (510) 577-3230.