Mira Mesa

Suspect in random stabbing of pregnant woman involved in 2nd attempted attack: DA

The attack happened during broad daylight in a busy strip mall

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A man who is accused of stabbing a 25-year-old pregnant woman multiple times at a drive-thru ATM in the Mira Mesa neighborhood over the weekend was charged in San Diego County court on Thursday.

Cole Klemke, 27, a former baseball player at Torrey Pines High School and the University of Nebraska, pleaded not guilty to premeditated attempted murder with special allegations of causing great bodily injury and robbery with same special allegations, as well as mayhem, in connection with the apparently random stabbing.

Una mujer fue hospitalizada y acuchillada varias veces mientras estaba en un cajero automático del Bank of America en Mira Mesa el 15 de junio de 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)
NBC 7 San Diego
A woman was hospitalized after being slashed multiple times while at a Bank of America ATM in Mira Mesa on June 15, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)

Investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said the Klemke approached the woman at the ATM in the Target shopping center just before 10 a.m. Saturday. He then slashed her before pushing her to the ground and slashing her two more times, police said. A motive for the attack remains unclear.

During the arraignment hearing, Deputy District Attorney Spencer Sharpe detailed another attempted attack on June 1 to argue that Klemke should be held without bail. In that incident, according to the prosecutor, Klemke approached a car, pulled out a knife and carved an "X" while demanding the driver get out. The driver escaped.

“Now, we have two random acts of violence," Sharpe said, adding if Klemke is not held, “He is going to commit another crime."

Klemke was also charged with felony vandalism and brandishing a weapon in connection to that case.

The judge agreed to hold Klemke without bail.

The victim's identity in Saturday's has not been made public but she was reportedly four months pregnant at the time of the attack. She tried to defend herself by kicking the suspect, police said. She was taken by ambulance to local hospital to be treated for deep cuts to her neck, left shoulder and chin and was released the same day.

“Fortunately in this case, her carotid [artery] was not severed, so this could have been a much worse attack, if not for her resilience,” SDPD Sgt. Eric Diggins said.

Detective Sgt. Erich Drilling said the attack happened quickly and violently. The suspect fled the scene after bystanders came to the victim's aid.

The suspect was seen on Target surveillance cameras walking out moments before the attack. Police tracked down the suspect using the footage and several tips from community members, who were able to help identify the man through photos released to the public.

Detective Sgt. Erich Drilling told NBC 7 that what is on video is horrific, hard to watch and that it was clear the victim did not know her attacker was behind her. He made no statements or demands prior to or during the attack, and no property was taken, police said.

Klemke, a Carmel Valley resident, was known to police and was last contacted by authorities a week before the attack. Court documents show that he has a history of drug and mental health problems.

La policía buscaba a este hombre sospechoso de acuchillar a una mujer en un cajero automático de Mira Mesa el 15 de junio de 2024. (Departamento de Policía de San Diego)
Police were looking for this man suspected of slashing a woman at a Mira Mesa ATM on June 15, 2024. (San Diego Police Department)

the suspect's mother, Brenda Klemke, filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order in August 2020. In that document, she requested that Cole stay away from all family members as well as the family’s Carmel Valley home.

“Cole continues to bring and use methamphetamines in our home,” Brenda wrote. “This causes him to be disruptive, belligerent and verbally abusive in the home. He was told that he could stay here as long as he was no longer violent and did not bring or use drugs in the home. He is currently refusing treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorder.”

Also in the document: Klemke’s mother claimed her son called her names and that “Cole took a pen and held it up to my husband’s throat and made a threat to cut his head off.”

A Superior Court judge dismissed the case, however. 

San Diego police said they have charged Klemke with other offenses, but they have not yet been prosecuted. 

Klemke is next scheduled in court on July 1.

The attack occurred during daylight hours, police say. 
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