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Multiple people randomly attacked in North Salinas, suspect arrested

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- Salinas Police said a 35-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after he attacked multiple people and was seen driving recklessly while high on meth.

At 7:38 p.m., Anton Van Hunter was seen driving a black 2002 Lexus northbound on North Main Street at East Laurel Drive while speeding. Police said he, "split the lanes and sideswiped a Toyota stopped for the red light before continuing northbound on N. Main Street."

The victim of the hit-and-run was able to describe the vehicle as having tinted black windows.

At 7:43 p.m., police said, Hunter stopped his car in the middle of Cherokee Drive and kicked through the front door window of a home on the 1300 block of Cherokee Drive and unlocked the door. The owner of the home was in the living room with his teenage son, so the owner told his son to hide in the backyard and call 911.

The homeowner yelled that he was getting his gun from the bedroom, said police. The suspect stole an iPhone from the table and ran from the home.

He then arrived at another home on the 1200 block of Cherokee Drive, a few minutes later and shouldered the front door open. According to police, he then immediately beat a 64-year-old man sitting in a recliner inside the home.

He "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," said police. The victim was taken to the hospital for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

Hunter was then seen driving the wrong way southbound on North Main Street at a high speed, per police. Officers found his car in the driveway of a home on the 300 block of Npice Drive.

A resident said someone was in their backyard. Hunter was found hiding in a shed that he had forced his way into.

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.

Salinas Police

Hunter was booked into Monterey County Hail for multiple counts of burglary, battery causing serious bodily injury, elder abuse, kidnapping, resisting arrest, probation violation, and drug charges. footage given by a neighbor shows the suspect approach their door.

Police added these attacks appeared random and were the results of a man on a meth bender

"I've been a police officer here in Salinas for 27 years. I live in town," said Salinas Police Commander, John Murray. "This is scary for the community and for us. We don't want to see something like this happen. This is out of the ordinary. That's why it's really newsworthy, but these things do happen. We want people in the community to take precautions but not to have undue fear."

Police added that the Monterey County Sheriff's Office was dispatched on the same day after the suspect went to a home in Toro Park.

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Ricardo Tovar

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