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Calif. Cops Seek Umbrella Attacker

February 6, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Days after a man stabbed a passerby in the eye with an umbrella and drove the tip into the victim’s brain, police can’t identify either person.

The attacker fled, and the victim lay unconscious in the hospital Thursday, in critical condition.

Despite repeated interviews, witnesses can’t tell police who the men are.

The victim, a man in his 40s, had no identification, and no one has reported him missing. His fingerprints were run through a database to see whether he has a criminal record, and nothing came up.

Police said the victim was attacked on a rainy Tuesday morning when his umbrella accidentally brushed the other man’s as the two walked near MacArthur Park. The busy street is flanked by tenement-like hotels and some office buildings, and many homeless people live in the park.

The enraged attacker _ a man of 25 to 30 _ stabbed the other man with his black umbrella. The victim collapsed, and the attacker ran away.

``Somebody coined the phrase `rain rage,′ and I think that’s what it was,″ said Vito Cicoria, supervisor of homicide detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart station.

``Some weather conditions are so negative for people that it sets them off like road rage. This guy probably has an unstable personality and anything will set him off.″

Those who saw the attack have been interviewed and re-interviewed but can’t say who the men are, Cicoria said.

The apparent ``rain rage″ motive also makes leads harder to come by, he added.

``The solving of homicide cases used to be easier because there was a reason why people killed,″ Cicoria said. ``People didn’t just get up in the morning and decide they were going to go out and kill somebody.″

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