SAN JOSE -- On a Saturday evening when thousands of people crowded into a downtown area that has become synonymous with family-friendly, Christmas-themed activities, a 14-year-old boy was stabbed in what police said was a gang-related incident.
The victim, who was not identified by police, staggered from the shadows of a walkway behind the Tech Museum, bleeding from stab wounds to the chest and arm. An employee of Winter Wonderland, a stretch of amusement park rides along Park Avenue, called an ambulance shortly before 9 p.m. and waited with the youth near a funnel cake booth. "He just said they jumped him," said the woman, who asked not to be identified, fearing gang retaliation.
Another 911 caller mistakenly said the stabbing occurred at Christmas in the Park, the seasonal mecca in Plaza de Cesar Chavez on South Market Street, which was picked up and repeated by news outlets. Police spokesman Albert Morales said he didn't know the exact location of the stabbing. The victim, whose injuries were later determined to be non-life-threatening, was transported to a local hospital from a site closer to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, where "The Nutcracker" ballet was being performed.
"It was closer to Winter Wonderland, which operates carnival rides, than it was to Christmas in the Park," said Jason Minsky, executive director of the long-standing downtown tradition, now in its 33rd year. Minsky said Christmas in the Park had four uniformed officers and two private security guards on duty when the stabbing occurred, and there were no plans to beef up security at the event.
"When you have a free event downtown, you're going to get that," Morales said. "The kids don't have a lot to do, and the carnivals do attract that element. It's just a way to get out and, for some of them, to cause problems."
Three suspects were being sought by police, the spokesman said, though they had no further leads since the incident. "They may not even investigate it," Morales said. "We get so many stabbings, this is just another one added to the pile."
Contact Bruce Newman at 408-920-5004; follow him at Twitter.com/BruceNewmanTwit.