Man accused in hatchet attack on Spring Valley store clerk charged with attempted murder, mayhem

EL CAJON, Calif. - A man accused of attacking a clerk with a hatchet during a robbery at a Spring Valley market over the weekend faced a judge on Wednesday.

Harold Hill, 24, appeared at a video arraignment at Superior Court in El Cajon, sporting what appeared to be a scab on his cheek, possibly his injury during the incident Saturday.

Video from the crime scene shows the aftermath of the robbery, including the blood trail left by the clerk who was hit in the head and neck with a hatchet. The video shows items scattered inside the Jamacha Produce Market after a fight between the two men.

Deputy district attorney Elizabeth Renner told the court, "After the victim put money in the bag, the defendant struck the victim in the head two to three times with the hatchet, causing serious injury to the victim's face."

Several people in the parking lot saw and heard the commotion, with one of them taking action.

Carl Zimmerman remembered, "Just a matter of seconds, a guy ran out of the store with a hoodie and a full-face bandana covering his face."

The robber had a getaway bicycle outside the doorway. Gary Duncan was behind the wheel of his SUV.

"Got onto his bike and started to take off and that's when I slowed him down with the car so he couldn't get away," said Duncan.

The man went flying off the bike. He lost the money bag and ran away.

Zimmerman said, "The money was fluttering around in the wind so he left everything and tried to run."

Hill was cornered under a home by a police dog and arrested.

Charges filed against Hill include attempted murder. Renner told 10News, "That count alone carries more than 25 years exposure. Count two: mayhem, also using a deadly weapon, namely the hatchet."

Judge Evan Kirvin set bail at $1 million for Hill, who has priors for burglary and transporting marijuana.

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