Take Back Watsonville founder Paul Gutierrez was attacked with a knife near his Palm Avenue home Thursday afternoon, authorities reported.
Gutierrez, 31, was not injured in the attack.
Watsonville police Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said Guiterrez was working in his backyard when he notice someone outside the back fence and confronted him.
"The suspect then tries to stab him and then he runs off," Gonzalez said.
Gutierrez said the assailant's knife stabbed into his belt and slashed his shorts, but was stopped shy of injuring him because his wallet was in his front pocket.
He described the attacker as a teenager wearing a backpack and a red Washington Nationals hat, which is sometimes associated with Norteño gangs in Watsonville.
The attack Thursday is just the latest incident in Gutierrez's quick rise as a community leader in Watsonville. His crime-fighting quest—begun in August after he and his family moved to Watsonville from Gilroy—has made him a media darling and a lightening rod for controversy.
"They're escalating from rocks, taunting and throwing trash to sending someone out here to try to kill me," Gutierrez said.
Earlier this month, a vandal threw rocks through the front window of his house. He spoke out against the Brown Berets, then found common ground with the group. Some neighbors have answered his call to action and come out in droves to support Take Back Watsonville, while others find his stance divisive.
"We're going to be personally going out looking for gang activity, not to step in but to call," Gutierrez said of Neighborhood Watch patrols working in tandem with police officers.