Photo: weapon in question
Originally published as a Petaluma Police Department Nixle post –
“On 11/23/2020 at approximately 8:03 PM, the Petaluma Police Department received a 911 call from a citizen who was reporting an aggressive male hit another person with a large stick. The reporting party provided a description of the suspect, who was located nearby by officers and identified as Timothy Schmelzer.
Petaluma PD officers contacted the victim, a 70-year-old male, on a nearby street. The victim disclosed he was loading items onto his bicycle fronting a store. Schmelzer approached the victim and began to yell profanities at the victim, which the victim did not reply to. At some point, Schmelzer related that he did not like Hispanic people and proceeded to hit him with a large stick and then left the area.
The victim primarily spoke Spanish and appeared to be of Latin descent. Based on the statements reportedly made by Schmelzer and several other factors, the investigating officer developed probable cause that this crime qualified as a hate crime.
Schmelzer was taken into custody for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Hate Crime, and Elder Abuse. He was later booked at the Sonoma County Jail. The victim did not sustain any injuries during the incident.”