Police ID suspect in connection with attack in broad daylight

Gabriel L. Townes (Source: Richmond police)
Gabriel L. Townes (Source: Richmond police)
Published: Apr. 19, 2018 at 9:56 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 23, 2018 at 4:37 PM EDT
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Source: Richmond Police
Source: Richmond Police
Timothy Jones was stabbed in the head by an attacker with a box cutter (Source: NBC12)
Timothy Jones was stabbed in the head by an attacker with a box cutter (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond police detectives have released the identity of the suspect they are searching for in connection with an aggravated assault that happened in broad daylight.

Detectives are trying to find Gabriel L. Townes, 50, of Richmond.

With five staples in his head and visible swelling, Timothy Jones sits on his front porch and talks about the moment he was attacked in broad daylight.

"I'm a citizen and I'm a soldier at heart. More than that, I'm a citizen who loves people. I want people to be safe, and I'm taking the right action," said Jones. "If I saw someone being attacked, I would stand up as a man and take the beating, if there was ever one, or give the beating."

The Army veteran says his ultimate goal in life is to protect and serve his community. It's why months ago, he stopped the same man - who he says attacked him in front of convenience store - from hurting a woman at a bus stop.

"There's been a history, when I went to save the lady he threatened to slap at the bus stop. He got defensive and aggressive - when he launched to attack, I was the victor. He didn't have a knife," he explained.

Jones says the man has a violent criminal history, and believes he should not be on the street and in the community.

"He found a way to honeycomb the community. I would be the one exposing him," he said.

Jones believes the attack, that happened outside of the convenience store in the 1400 block of East Brookland Park Boulevard, was planned. The attack happened Wednesday, April 18 around 6:17 p.m.

"He had the knife in his hand, he was fighting with the knife," Jones said. "He didn't care who sees him, he wasn't trying to get away."

The entire situation was caught on surveillance. Jones says the man walked in the store and asked him to come outside. When he pulled out the box cutter, Jones says he wasn't scared, but ready to defend himself.

The video shows Jones trying to fight the man off. The man eventually knocks Jones to the ground, and he was left motionless and bleeding, with a large gash in his head, as Townes walked away from the store.

The videos shows the moments employees called for help and first responders arrived, taking Jones to the hospital. RPD says Townes left the scene before they arrived.

"When that knife came down in my skull, I honestly didn't remember him hitting me," said Jones. "I guess I did lose consciousness for a second. He's an endangerment, this guy."

Less than 24 hours after being released from the hospital, Jones has continued to speak about what happened to him, posting on social media and urging the community to be diligent.

Jones says his biggest concern is catching the man who attacked him before anyone else gets hurt.

"We have to police our community in some way, and I'm thinking this is how we prevent," he said. "I think the public being aware, he's not going to last on the street. He's going to get caught. I hope he doesn't do anything desperate before he gets caught."

Anyone who can help detectives locate Townes is asked to call Fourth Precinct Detective W. O'Neil at (804) 646-3103.

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