A San Pablo City Councilman says he was attacked last week by a tenant at a Richmond house, then driven in his car, unconscious, and left inside it near the Berkeley entrance to Golden Gate Fields,¿ where he woke up. The councilman, Paul Morris, says he suffered a concussion and spent two days in a hospital.
Morris, president of Paul Morris Management, Inc. of San Pablo and a councilman since 2002, said the attack was completely unprovoked, and occurred around 1:30 p.m. July 3 as he was preparing to introduce himself to the tenant of a house in South Richmond that his company had recently added to its management portfolio.
Morris said he was on the doorstep of the house, waiting to present a letter of introduction from the landlord, when a man suddenly burst out the entrance door that had been ajar.
"He said, 'Get out! Get out!' and punched me in the chest," Morris remembered. He said he fell backward and hit his head on the concrete.
"I woke up at Golden Gate Fields, in the passenger seat," Morris said.
He said he came to about 3 p.m. and was alone in the car, windows open, his car key and smart phone nearby. He remembered calling 911 and having difficulty making himself understood to the operator.
He eventually pushed the SOS button of his car, a Mercedes, which alerts the car company to summon emergency responders.
Berkeley police arrived, and an ambulance took Morris to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he underwent a CT scan, he said. Morris said he was released July 5, having suffered a slight concussion and a bruised tailbone but no other apparent injuries.
Morris said San Pablo police Chief Walt Schuld and a sergeant picked up the car key from him at the hospital, retrieved the Mercedes from Berkeley and drove it to San Pablo.
"I'm just lucky to be here," Morris told this newspaper Tuesday night. "I'm just stunned this happened."
Richmond police Det. Tim Gard said an investigation is ongoing. He said he could reveal no details other than Morris was assaulted and taken to Highland Hospital. Richmond police are following leads and hope to make an arrest soon, Gard said.
Morris said his memory is blank on much of what happened after he was hit. Because he would have been "170 pounds of dead weight" unconscious, he thinks it might have taken a second person to load him into his car.
He said he does not know why the car was abandoned with him inside it, or why it was left near the racetrack. He speculated that his assailant may have stopped the car and left after experiencing remorse.
"The whole thing is just bizarre," Morris said.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760