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San Francisco tech worker tells how his flying kick helped nab car break-in suspect

A man performs a flying kick
Jesse Hunt, 33, performed a flying kick on a car break-in suspect who was armed with a knife. The suspect allegedly assaulted a 74-year-old man before Hunt and others apprehended the suspect. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

A San Francisco tech worker is sharing his account of how he and others rescued a 74-year-old stabbing victim after a car break-in on Friday.

Zoom staffer Jesse Hunt explained how he disarmed the knife-wielding car break-in suspect in the city’s Marina District with a flying kick and help from other bystanders—including an Australian man named Kyle, a man with a dog and an off-duty federal officer. One of the men appeared to be wearing a cowboy hat, photos from the scene show.

Hunt recalled walking with a friend, Madison Gress, outside Marina Middle School around 5:10 p.m. when he heard a cry for help.

Three people hold down a fourth person on the ground by a power pole near a chain link fence overgrown with hedges just steps from a street.
Several Good Samaritans helped detain a stabbing suspect after chasing him into a San Francisco park on Friday. One of the men who apprehended the suspect appeared to be wearing a black cowboy hat. | Source: Courtesy Jesse Hunt

READ MORE: San Francisco Vigilante ‘Cowboy’ Demands Free Cheeseburger After Stopping Alleged $2 Heist

“I heard somebody yell out, 'Help me, I've been stabbed. I'm being robbed. He's robbing me and stealing my car,'” Hunt told The Standard. “I turned to my friend and said I'd be back and ran over to the car where there was a scuffle going on.”

Gress, a 26-year-old software sales worker, said she witnessed what looked like a homeless man wrestling with an older man before Hunt began the chase. 

“He just said, ‘Hey, I'm going to catch up with you later,’ and then just started jogging and then, you know, sprinting right after that,” said Gress.

When Hunt got to the scuffle, he saw one of the men involved was much younger and had a knife, and noticed the older man had been cut.

“I approached and said, 'Drop the knife, get on the ground!' The [younger] guy managed to get away from the gentleman that he was assaulting. He started running up the sidewalk,” said 33-year-old Hunt, a San Francisco native.

A man stands for a portrait on a city street with cars in the background.
Jesse Hunt, 33, said he performed a flying kick on a car break-in suspect who was armed with a knife. The suspect allegedly stabbed a 74-year-old man before Hunt and others apprehended him. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

‘Sent Him Flying’

Hunt said the assailant took a left on Chestnut Street and tried climbing one of the fences.

"I caught up with him, and he turned around and started brandishing a knife. I backed off for a second. Then, on Chestnut Street, he's running towards the library, like, in the middle of the street," he said. "I caught up with him, put my foot into his back and sent him flying to disarm him, get the knife away from him."

Then, Hunt said, the man pulled out a second, smaller knife; meanwhile, Hunt managed to grab the first knife and the keys taken from the older man's car.

A man performs a flying kick
"I caught up with him, put my foot into his back and sent him flying to disarm him, get the knife away from him," Hunt told The Standard. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

“At that point, he took a left and went into the public library, which was full of kids at the time,” said Hunt, who has been training in the art of kickboxing for one year. “I started yelling out, 'He's got a knife!' And I was a little frustrated that there was nobody else helping." (The Standard contacted the San Francisco Public Library for comment but did not receive an immediate response.)

Then suddenly, help arrived.

"There was a guy who said he was a federal officer and that he had a concealed carry on him. He went to his firearm. He didn't fire it. He kept repeating warnings for the guy to get on the ground,” Hunt said. 

READ MORE: Attack on SF Businessman in Marina Reveals Growing Tensions Over Homelessness

The chase continued to the tennis courts next to the library. 

“Once we got there, you know, I was really humbled and happy to see that there was an Australian guy who had seen what was going on and ran over,” Hunt continued. “He was calling the cops, giving them a play-by-play. Myself and the federal officer ran after the guy. As he ran toward what would be the northwest exit of Moscone Park by the putting green, there was another guy who had a dog. He helped us get him on the ground.”

Hunt said Tuesday he was struck by the collaborative effort from strangers to protect the 74-year-old man, chase down the suspect and hold him until police arrived.

“The piece that really stood with me is there are people in the city that are willing to help and stop the stuff," he said.

Hunt has seen a regular police presence in the neighborhood but feels cops are understaffed and unable to tackle every crime.

READ MORE: SUV Stolen With 2-Year-Old Girl in Back Seat, San Francisco Police Say

Police confirmed the incident. They said they responded to the area of Chestnut and Webster streets around 5:08 p.m. where they found witnesses who pointed them to a group of people holding a man on the ground at Bay and Webster streets. Officers soon took the man into custody.

The attacker was later identified as Mohamad Jafaripour. He was arrested and booked into jail on an active San Francisco warrant. Jafaripour was also booked on suspicion of burglary, burglary involving a present victim, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, vandalism, petty theft and unlawful possession of tear gas.

Jafaripour remained in jail Tuesday morning, according to the San Francisco Sheriff's Office inmate locator.