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Noon stabbing at Library Park
Man confronts family moving to Manteca, knifes man
Manteca officer John Machado interviews a 17-year-old family member who witnessed the confrontation between his mother’s friend and a knife-wielding suspect that occurred near the library. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
A middle-aged San Jose couple and a 17-year-old teen were taking a break in Manteca’s Library Park during the noon hour Wednesday when they were confronted by a stranger who reportedly asked them for drugs and then stabbed the 48-year-old man in the back.

Joseph Columbia, 48, was transported to San Joaquin County Hospital trauma center by ambulance for treatment of his knife wound.

The teen said the three of them had been looking for a rental house for his mom and her boyfriend so they could be closer to him and his 15-year-old sister who had already been living in Manteca.

A younger man estimated to be in his late 20s had walked up to where they were sitting and asked his mother where he could buy drugs.  She told him to get away from them, the teen said, and the man became aggressive and argumentative using vulgar language.

He said his mom’s friend jumped to her defense and followed the man out into the street and behind a motor home that was parked there – pushing and shoving each other in the chest.  That was when the stranger allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed the San Jose man in the back.

Witnesses said Columbia appeared very angry at the fact he had been stabbed and early-on refused to lie down on the park grass as the wail of sirens could be heard throughout the downtown area.

Police stretched yellow crime tape around the area where the stabbing had taken place and officers located several witnesses to the assault who said the man had been wearing a blue knit pull over cap.  Manteca Avenue, adjacent to the park, was closed to traffic for nearly an hour.

Prior to concluding their on-scene investigation, two officers searched through the victim’s older black Pontiac that was located in the library parking lot.  Asked why they were searching his car, they said that he was currently on parole out of the Bay Area on an assault with a deadly weapon conviction – making him searchable.

Later in the afternoon a teen on a skateboard said the suspect had just been seen near one of the motels on Moffatt Boulevard where he was said to be bragging about the stabbing.  During the afternoon officers carried on an unsuccessful hunt for the suspect and located two felons they said were at large in the community.