Woman stabbed on AC Transit bus: ‘What did I do that made you want to murder me?’

A woman was stabbed Monday night on an AC Transit bus like this one. Photo: Paul Sullivan
A woman was stabbed Monday night on an AC Transit bus like this one. Photo: Paul Sullivan

This article has been updated to include comments by the father of the alleged assailant.

Update: 8/16 If you want to help Mariah, you can made a donation at a You Fund Me site that has been set up for her. It’s like a personal kickstarter: http://www.gofundme.com/d5bars

Original Story: The woman who was repeatedly stabbed by a man when she was riding an AC Transit bus on San Pablo Avenue on Aug. 11 said she had not even noticed her alleged assailant before he pushed a knife into her eye. But she did spot the man who came to her rescue.

Mariah Elizabeth, 21, of Oakland (Berkeleyside is not using her last name) had gotten on the northbound 72M bus at 40th and San Pablo around 10:00 p.m. or so Monday. She was on her way to the San Pablo Lytton Casino. As she bounded up the steps of the bus, Mariah spotted a young man in his 20s skateboarding across the street. He, too, got on the bus.


Mariah sat down facing the back of the bus. She was listening to music and looking at her phone when she saw a man in her peripheral vision. The man said, “Watch this,” and showed Mariah a white tube with foil wrapped around it, she said. Mariah thought it was some kind of drug paraphernalia and ignored the man.

The next thing she knew the man had pulled a knife out of the tube and lunged at her face, said Mariah.

“The first place he hit me was in the eye,” said Mariah. “He sliced my eyeball. Blood was everywhere,” she said.

Mariah said she started to kick her alleged assailant and he fell to the ground. The assailant got back up again and stabbed her again — a total of seven times. Mariah kept on kicking. Within seconds, the young man who had gotten on the bus with her started hitting the assailant on the head with a skateboard. Police have not released his name, but credit him with helping save Mariah’s life.

“I kicked him and he fell back because the bus was moving,” said Mariah, of her assailant. “He got back up. It was then the guy with the skateboard started hitting him in the back of his head.”


“If I hadn’t fought for my life, if I hadn’t gone into a defensive mode, he would have killed me,” she said.

The bus pulled over on San Pablo Avenue near Chaucer Street and the alleged assailant ran out of the bus. Witnesses flagged down police, who quickly arrested Eric Scott Palmer, 24. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday, Aug. 15, on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held without bail, according to county records.

Mariah was taken to a local hospital and was treated for her injuries, which police called non-life-threatening. She said two stab wounds were the most serious — one in her leg, which was about 1.5 inches deep, and one in her eye. The doctor said her eye would heal, although right now she has limited peripheral vision.

The doctors wanted Mariah to stay longer in the hospital to recover, but she checked herself out Tuesday evening because she had to rush to the hotel she is living in. If she didn’t pay rent by Tuesday, hotel management would have taken her things and kicked her out, she said.

The last few days have been very difficult, said Mariah. Her car was towed so she relies on AC Transit and BART to get around. She said she is now wary of being around other people.


“I don’t want to deal with people so much,” she said. “I don’t want to get on the bus. I don’t want to get on BART.”

Mariah said she would like to talk to the skateboarder who helped her to thank him.

A man named John Lawrence left a comment for Mariah on Berkeleyside on Thursday. He said “Mariah, I’m the guy who had the skateboard. I’m so so relieved to know you are okay! Bless you a million times. To everyone, don’t let hate or anger build up inside yourself, live sweet, be kind.”

Mariah said she also has questions she would like to ask Palmer.

“What was your point?” she said she would ask. “What was the reason? What did I do or what did someone do that day that made you want to murder me?”

Update, 3:15 p.m. Berkeleyside spoke with John Palmer, the father of Eric Palmer. Palmer said that his son has serious mental health issues and that he had stopped taking his medication at the time of the attack. He was also homeless.

“Eric has a long history of mental health challenges since he was an infant,” said John Palmer. “It showed itself when he was 3 years old.”

The challenges include bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, said Palmer.

His son has been institutionalized many times, including at the Napa State Hospital. Palmer said he has reported his son as a 5150 — meaning he was a threat to himself or others — but that has only resulted in him getting treatment for a week or a month at a time.

Palmer said he was surprised at the violence of the attack because previously his son had just heard voices or seen visions. He had never harmed anyone.

“I am grateful that the lady was not killed,” said Palmer. “I am grateful that the good Samaritan was not killed. I’m glad that Eric was not killed, considering the tension that is happening with the police now. I am grateful he was not shot.”

Palmer said his son knows the difference between right and wrong and that he should be held accountable for his act. He also hopes that he can now get the psychological help he needs.

“I would like him to get help while he is being held accountable,” said Palmer.

Related:
Man uses skateboard to interrupt stabbing on bus (08.13.14)

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