Adan Pufellis is still trying to wrap his mind around what happened to him in the early morning hours of Aug. 24.
It was nearly 2 a.m, and he remembers being in the drive-through lane of the Del Taco at Chapman Avenue and State College Boulevard when his passenger, a person he thought was a friend, began stabbing him with a knife.
He tried to fend off his attacker but was stabbed multiple times in his hand, neck and abdomen. One gash punctured his liver.
“I have a scar on my neck,” said Pufellis, who declined to discuss his attacker because the case is still under investigation. “Three stab wound scars in my chest, my arm, my hand and my finger. I have nick mark in my cheek.”
After the attack, he remembers lying on the ground bleeding from his wounds.
Soon after, Fullerton police officers and paramedics arrived, put pressure on his wounds, rushed him to the hospital and likely saved his life.
After he recovered, Pufellis penned a letter to Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes.
“I owe my life to these fine people,” he wrote. “I owe them more than I can ever offer.”
In particular, Pufellis believes Officer Justin Francis helped him survive that night.
The Fullerton College art student also commended Officer Francis and Det. Mario Magliano and the Fullerton medics.
“I feel he went beyond his duty as an officer,” he wrote about Francis. “Justin was there when I needed a person to hold my hand in the E.R. Justin showed his humanity and not just being an officer of the law at the time.”
He had similar praise for Magliano.
“Talking with Mario regarding the matter has given me clarity and made my soul calm, and has given an understanding that this act against me was extreme and unwarranted.”
Hughes commended both the officers for helping Pufellis.
“Sometimes, we handle so many of these types of calls we forget what a difference we can make in a stranger’s most difficult time, and in this case, someone who believed he was about to die,” Hughes wrote to the officers. “Both of you not only showed compassion, but you demonstrated why our role in this city is so important. Most people will never learn of this incident but you should both be extremely proud of how you represented yourselves, and our department.”
Click here to read the full letter.