STOCKTON – The Stockton Police Department is seeing an increase in food vendor and delivery robberies and assaults. They're a good target.
This isn't the first time a food vendor has been attacked in Stockton, but this is the first time in years one has been shot. FOX40 spoke to the victim Saturday with the help of a translator; he tells us he's thankful to be alive.
With a cart full of food, Bernardo Perez set up at Constitution Park in Stockton Friday like he does every day.
“Two people approached me to ask for something, for corn,” said Perez.
The 58-year-old was about to make a sale at the park off of East Fremont Street when two other people went up to him but, they weren't looking for corn.
“One stood on this side and the other one over here; that's when I saw they had a gun,” stated Perez.
They wanted Perez's money.
“They grabbed me and told me three times ‘give us the money,’” Perez said.
He says he tried to defend himself with a knife and that's when they fired at least 10 shots according to Perez.
“I started moving back and they started shooting at me more and more,” said Perez.
He was hit once in the shoulder.
“They didn't manage to take anything. I kept moving back and they still had the gun and I ducked behind a tree,” Perez stated.
Then the men ran.
The good news, Perez is going to be OK, but this is an alarming trend.
The Stockton Police Department says they've seen an uptick in violence against food vendors and delivery drivers; more than half a dozen attacks in the last couple of months.
“I hope this can be resolved and the people can be caught so they can stop assaulting me and my coworkers,” expresses Perez.
Officers say vendors like Perez are easy targets because they have cash on them.
Perez says he's been attacked four other times while selling food in Stockton, but he can't stop. He says this job is how his family survives.
“It's all for the love of my family. To give my family a better life,” said Perez.
The suspects are described as Hispanic men between the ages of 17 and 18. If you have any information about this case, you can contact the Stockton Police Department.