Ceres man arrested in Atwater birthday party stabbing

A Ceres man was arrested Thursday in connection with a knife attack earlier this week at a children’s birthday party, the Atwater Police Department reported.

Robert Flores Carranza, 43, was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. Bail was set at $30,000, according to Merced County Jail booking records.

Police said Carranza attended a joint birthday party for his son and his niece Sunday at Ralston Park in Atwater when a family squabble turned violent. Carranza reportedly slashed 29-year-old Damien Galaviz during the argument, Lt. Samuel Joseph said.

Carranza was asked not to start trouble at the family party and apparently became upset as a result, Joseph said.

The Ceres resident surrendered to police Thursday. He admitted to using a knife on Galaviz, but claimed he was defending himself.

Police said Carranza recently separated from his wife and children. They believe the scuffle Sunday stemmed from those issues.

Galaviz suffered non-life-threatening injuries to his arms and was hospitalized in Modesto, police said.

The weapon used in the assault has not been recovered. “He (Carranza) claims he left it at the scene,” Joseph said.