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'Miraculous' survival after brutal attack outside El Cajon trolley stop

'Miraculous' survival after brutal attack outside El Cajon trolley stop
Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 08, 2021

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - A 71-year-old man is recovering after a horrific assault outside a trolley station in El Cajon.

Last Wednesday, around 5 a.m., at the Arnele Avenue trolley stop, Jose Serra got off and began the quarter-mile walk to a manufacturing facility, where friend Todd Jones had hired him for some odd jobs.

“He's the guy who wouldn't hurt a fly … I know when he's on the trolley, he is to himself,” said Jones.

Police say as Serra got off the trolley, someone was watching him and followed him as he left the stop.

Jones says about a block away, Serra was attacked by a man with a foot-long knife.

“Was just walking down the sidewalk. This guy came up to him, pulled out a knife and just starts poking him and slashing him,” said Jones.

After stabbing him several times, the man ran off, possibly with Serra's backpack. Serra was found by a bystander.

“He was stabbed in the hand and arm, slashed in the back of his head to the front. Ear was dangling on there. He’s had to have plastic surgery.

Jones says Serra was stabbed twice in the stomach area, damaging his intestines.

“One stab went all the way through the back and cut his main artery back there. The nurse told me that no one usually survives that. Looks like he’s going to make it through … miracle,” said Jones.

Jones says Serra had suffered a long year of health issues, before the attack and now faces a long road to recovery. Serra had recently lost his job as a janitor. Jones hopes anyone with information will come forward.

“We need to get this guy, because a guy that works a guy knife like this could definitely kill anybody,” said Jones.

Serra is Filipino, and police says there is no indication race was a motive. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with a shaved head, 5’9” to 6’, 175 to 200 pounds with tattoos on his arm and possibly his face.

Jones says Serra confirmed his attacker was on the trolley and had asked him for directions to Spring Valley.

Anyone with information is asked to call El Cajon Police at 619-579-3311 or Crimestoppers at 888-580-8477.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Serra with expenses.