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THE BAYCITIES OBSERVER
Virginia McCullough


"Have I missed the  mark, or, like a true archer,  do I strike my mark?
Or am I a prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?"
                                                     
Cassandra, as reported by Agamemnon

EASTER  SUNDAY  2001

AN OPEN LETTER OF THANKS

 

Last Sunday, in the early morning hours, my oldest son and his college buddy went into Lyons Restaurant on Hopyard Road in Pleasanton to get a bite to eat.  This particular cafe is adjacent to a parking lot that accommodates customers of  Sh-Boom, a nightclub catering to a clientele throughout the East Bay.   At 1:53 a.m. the Pleasanton Police Department had responded to a disturbance in this parking lot.  Two groups of males appeared ready to fight.  All the subjects had been drinking in the bar according to the police report.  Three members of one group were identified; they were advised to cease and desist.  These three individuals told the two officers that they were going to eat at Lyons Restaurant.

Thirty minutes later my son lay unconscious and bleeding from the head on the floor of the coffee shop.  These angry men had brought their pent up testosterone into a family restaurant to vent their rage.  The restaurant was crowded, so there were numerous witnesses to the event.  My son tried to avoid their anger and told them, "I don't want to fight, I just want to eat."  The taller of the two assailants immediately responded by knocking him out.  He fell  unconscious to the floor, where two of the men proceeded to kick and stomp him in the head until he was bleeding heavily.

The two suspects, who were arrested at the scene, were identified as Steve Michael Goodell and Shawn Alan Moreira.  According to the police reports [Investigative Report 01-2207 filed 04/09/01] my son "was on the ground and Goodell was kicking him full force with all his body weight behind it.  Goodell was kicking him in the back, stomach and facial area.  Moreira jumped on [my son's] face and head with his shoes on."  An officer reported that my son "did not fight back and appeared to be in grave danger of losing his life or being seriously injured."

At this point,  black off-duty Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Jon David Stewart, Badge No. 1490, stepped in to help my son and pull the attackers off of him.  Suspect Goodell also threw punches at this officer as he attempted to neutralize the situation.  Off duty Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff Bradley Pederson, Badge No. 63841, stepped in to assist Stewart and shortly thereafter the Pleasanton Police arrived in force, arresting the two named suspects who were identified by several witnesses.  While held in the back seat of a police car, suspect Moreira bragged that he was from the "hood," and said "Me 'n him pillaged that nigga, huh!"

My son was transported by ambulance to Eden Medical Center's trauma unit located in Castro Valley,  where he was treated for severe head injuries including a broken nose and concussion.   Both of his eyes were swollen, blackened and bloody.  He bled from his mouth and his ears and he is suffering from severe headaches.  The doctors have told him it will be several weeks until he can think clearly and go back to work in his profession of computer engineering.  He does not remember anything from the time he came out of the rest room at Lyons until he was drifting in and out of consciousness in the ambulance.

Several others deserve credit for putting their own lives at risk to assist my son.  The waitress at Lyons, Sandra Diaz-Kelly, shouted for the attackers to stop and quickly dialed 911.  She could easily have been attacked.  The bus boy, Bob Cope, who intervened was slugged and knocked into a counter for his troubles.  Others, who names are unknown to me, tried to intervene and were also assaulted.  My son's friend was thrown over a counter into the kitchen area and his face bruised by blows thrown at him.  Many witnesses put their personal privacy aside and stepped forward to sign statements about the assault.  To all of these people this mother is very grateful.

But this Easter morning, a very special "THANK YOU" goes to Deputy Sheriff Jon David Stewart.  He acted with disregard for his own safety and, I am convinced, his intervention allowed my son to live.  Without men like this in law enforcement who act in the public good, we would all have a far darker society.  Instead I can celebrate Easter Sunday 2001 with gratitude in my heart.

Virginia McCullough © 2001