Stabbing suspect goes to police, found to have knives

Prosecutors said it was reminiscent of a James Bond movie — a man wanted for attempted murder breezed through a courthouse security checkpoint this week with strange weapons tucked into a secret compartment in his belt buckle.

Authorities had been searching for 19-year-old David Rosales since Feb. 22, when he nearly killed a man in San Mateo’s Central Park, stabbing him in the chest and hitting him in the head with a chain, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

On Monday, the unemployed Oakland resident went through the metal detector screening at the county courthouse and walked upstairs to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office to ask if he had any warrants out for his arrest.

Deputies quickly determined Rosales was wanted in the attempted murder case and arrested him. During a search, authorities found three sharpened metal plates the size of playing cards in a compartment inside Rosales’ large, Western-style belt buckle, Wagstaffe said.

“They were very unusual weapons — flat and sharpened to a point,” Wagstaffe said. “He said he believed that because they were small, it was not illegal to possess them.” Wagstaffe said.

Rosales now faces five felonies that threaten to put him behind bars for 11 years. He is charged with attempted murder, assault and threats in the Central Park incident, and he now faces possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of a deadly weapon in a public building.

Rosales remains in San Mateo County jail without bail. He appeared in Commissioner Stephanie Garratt’s courtroom Wednesday and will return to enter a plea Tuesday.

Authorities say Rosales got into an argument with a fellow park visitor before the San Mateo attack. A doctor who treated the victim said that if the knife’s blade had been a quarter of an inch higher or deeper, the young man might have died, Wagstaffe said.

The stabbing and beating was witnessed by several park visitors. Wagstaffe said prosecutors don’t believe the attack was gang related and Rosales does not have an adult criminal record.

tbarak@examiner.com

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