A man was stabbed several times Tuesday when trying to get to his car outside a shopping center in Corona, California. When walked at knifepoint into a Planet Fitness, the victim decided to bring his hatchet-wielding captor back down to earth — and gym members proved more than happy to assist.
According to the Corona Police Department, 30-year-old Ronald Vikash Chand of Santa Ana allegedly approached a 41-year-old man around 9:20 a.m. in the parking lot outside a Planet Fitness at 3685 Grand Oaks.
KABC-TV reported that the victim began recording the suspect, having observed him behaving erratically. This apparently enraged Chand, who allegedly blocked the victim’s car with his own and smashed in its window with a hatchet.
The attacker proceeded to lunge at the victim with a hatchet and a knife, stabbing him several times, said police. Although blood had been spilled, the ordeal was far from over.
Chand allegedly walked his bloody victim into the lobby of the Planet Fitness at knifepoint, where he berated gym members.
In a shocking video of the incident, the suspect accuses someone of taking advantage of him before yelling, “Give me water! I need water!”
KTTV-TV reported that John Keene, a gym-goer, was among those who ultimately stepped up when the moment presented itself.
“I was on the stairclimber and I heard screaming behind me,” said Keene. “At first, I thought it was an argument, so I kind of ignored it and after about a minute, it got louder, so I turned off the machine and got down to walk over there.”
On closer examination, Keene saw the blades and realized this was no mere argument.
“He [the suspect] had his arm around the victim and the victim was covered in blood. Three other guys were all walking over at the same time. There were four of us,” Keene told KTTV.
In the video of the incident, the suspect can be seen with a knife in his raised hand, poised to stab the victim again. However, Chand’s focus temporarily shifts along with his stabbing hand as he pivots to yell at onlookers.
The victim seized upon that fleeting distraction, yanking the hatchet to one side and engulfing the suspect in a tackle. Under the victim’s weight, the 145-pound attacker folded to the ground like cardboard.
Although the victim initially managed to overwhelm his attacker, Chand allegedly continued lashing out, prompting Keene and others to intervene.
“We all just bounced on him and disarmed him and held him down for the police. It kinda happened fast,” said Keene.
“I got him on his back and I held his arm down so Steve could take the knife from him,” added the Good Samaritan. “And then there was hatchet there too and we handed it to somebody else, and they took it away from the scene.”
“I wasn’t scared at that moment. I felt the adrenaline after, but because the victim acted, we didn’t have time to decide or think about it. I was involved before I thought about it,” added Keene.
Rachele Wolfe witnessed the bloody scene. She told KTTV, “It was terrifying. I was afraid. I didn’t know what was going to happen. It seems like a safe place. You come, you work out, you leave, but it just goes to show you, you’re not safe anywhere.”
The victim suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper body and was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. CPD noted that he has since been released.
Chand has been charged with attempted murder and two misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury. His bail was set at $1,000,000.
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