EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - Speaking from his hospital bed, an assault victim is describing a brutal attack outside an El Cajon trolley stop last week.
Two Wednesdays ago, just before 5 a.m., 71-year-old Jose Serra was on the trolley, when a man got on and sat a few seats behind him.
“When he got on the trolley, all he did was ask me how to get to Spring Valley,” said Serra.
Serra says after a quick uneventful exchange, the man started talking to someone else. A few minutes later, Serra and the man both got off at the Arnele Avenue stop.
“So we were walking towards away from the trolley. He didn't say nothing. I didn't say nothing. There was no interaction,” said Serra.
About a block away, the two men were just a few feet apart.
‘There was no change in his expression. Nothing. He just pulled out the knife and started slashing. It was a complete surprise,” said Serra.
Serra says the man stabbed him several times in the stomach with a foot-long knife. Serra's face and ear were also slashed, along with his hand and arm.
“As soon as the knife started coming, I fell to the sidewalk, because I was bleeding like crazy,” said Serra.
Serra's attacker ran off, while a bystander came to his aid. At the hospital, Serra beat the odds. Doctors told him, the damage he suffered to a vein near his intestines is often fatal.
“It feel good, feels good to be alive,” said Serra.
On Thursday, El Cajon Police released a photo of the suspect, 24-year-old Ezekiel Valdivia, who owns has an extensive violent criminal history. He was released early from jail in January, five months into a one-year sentence.
On Wednesday, local API advocates have called on authorities to take a close look at whether Serra, who is Filipino, was a victim of a hate crime.
Meanwhile, Serra is asking anyone with information to come forward.
“Please release the information. He’ll do it again and again until someone stops him … He could kill someone,” said Serra.
El Cajon Police are asking that anyone who has information on Valdivia's whereabouts call 911 or the department at 619-579-3311. He is considered armed and dangerous.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Serra with expenses.