Release Date & Time: 05/18/2023 11:00 AM
Incident: Several randomly attacked in North Salinas
Date: Wednesday, 05/17/2023
Time: 7:43 PM
Location: N. Main St.@E. Laurel Dr., 1200/1300 block of Cherokee Dr., 300 block of Noice Dr.
At 7:38 p.m., 35-year-old suspect Anton Van Hunter, was driving a black 2002 Lexus northbound on N. Main St. at E. Laurel Drive at a high rate of speed. He split the lanes and sideswiped a Toyota stopped for the red light before continuing northbound on N. Main St. The victim of this hit-and-run was only able to describe the vehicle as having dark tinted back windows.
At 7:43 p.m., Hunter stopped his car in the middle of Cherokee Dr. and went to the front door of a home on the 1300 block of Cherokee Dr. He kicked out the front door window, reached through, and unlocked the door. The homeowner was in the living room with his teenage son, he quickly told his son to run and hide in the back yard and call 911, and the homeowner yelled he was getting his gun. The father went to the bedroom to retrieve his lawfully owned firearm. The suspect stole an iPhone from a table and quickly fled the home.
A few minutes later, Hunter went to a home on the 1200 block of Cherokee Dr. where he shouldered open the locked front door. A 64-year-old man was seated in his recliner facing away from the front door. Hunter immediately attacked the homeowner and punched him multiple times on the head, threw him against a wall, and kicked him. The vicious random attack continued and resulted in serious injuries. Hunter then left the residence. The victim was transported to a local hospital; the injuries, although serious, do not appear to be life-threatening.
At one point Hunter was seen driving southbound on N. Main St. at high speed on the wrong side of the road. Officers made a search of the area and surrounding streets and within minutes found Hunter’s vehicle in front of a home on the 300 block of Noice Drive. The officer’s believed Hunter was still in the vehicle, and while making the high-risk vehicle contact, a resident came out of a home and said there was someone in their backyard. Hunter was hiding to the rear of one of the homes and had forced his way into a shed. As officers moved toward his hiding place, Hunter came out toward officers with clenched fists and did not obey commands. He was tased and arrested following a brief struggle. Hunter was in possession of the victim’s cell phone; he was obviously high and had a meth pipe and several illegal pills.
He was booked into County Jail for multiple counts of burglary, battery causing serious bodily injury, elder abuse, kidnapping, resisting arrest, probation violation, and drug charges. These attacks appear to be random, and we do not believe the suspect knew the victims. This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222.
Release Authorized by: Commander John Murray
Telephone: (831) 758-7250