CHP officer stabbed nine times on Riverside freeway overpass
A California Highway Patrol officer was in stable condition Friday after being repeatedly stabbed in his back, arms, face and eye by a man he was trying to stop from climbing the fence of a freeway overpass in Riverside.
Javier Hernandez Rios, 45, was booked into the Riverside County jail on suspicion of mayhem and attempted murder of a peace officer. He also was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer for the attempted stabbing of two off-duty officers who intervened.
The incident unfolded when the CHP responded to a 911 call Thursday at 9:51 p.m. that a man was climbing an overpass fence on La Sierra Avenue at Highway 91 in Riverside. The caller believed the man was going to jump onto the freeway, according to Riverside police Sgt. David Amador.
Amador said the CHP officer, whose identity was not released, grabbed Rios’ legs. The suspect then allegedly produced a medium-sized pocket knife and began stabbing the officer.
An off-duty Riverside police officer and an off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s sergeant passing by in separate vehicles both stopped to assist, and the suspect allegedly attempted to stab them but missed, Amador said.
The CHP officer sustained nine stab wounds and was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday on his eye, Amador said. Rios was treated for minor injuries sustained during the alleged altercation.
Amador said police investigators suspect Rios was high on methamphetamines and possibly heroin, inducing paranoia that drove him to climb the freeway overpass fence. The suspect was lucid during the interview and told investigators he was trying to get away from what he thought were police following him all day, Amador said.
“We initially thought he was trying to commit suicide but we no longer believe that,” Amador said. “We don’t believe he has any mental problems; we think he was under the influence of drugs.”
Amador said Rios appeared to be a habitual drug user who was unemployed and lived in a motel with his wife. He has a criminal history of domestic violence, Amador said.
Police officials ask that anyone with information contact Det. Jim Brandt at (951) 353-7137 or Det. Mike Medici at (951) 353-7104.
-- Teresa Watanabe
Image: Map shows location of where a CHP officer was stabbed in Riverside. Credit: Google Maps