Bob Silver was driving to dinner in Center City on Saturday night when three men burst out from between parked cars.
At first, Silver, an intellectual-property lawyer, couldn’t quite tell what was happening between the men, whom he said were black and in disheveled clothing. Then one hurled a punch. Moments later, a second punch. In between, one of the men pulled out a blade Silver likened to a chef’s knife.
Within minutes, a man was stabbed in the neck. Silver, 61, was frozen behind the wheel of his Toyota Highlander at 17th and Sansom Streets.
Police said the victim, a man in his 30s, died Saturday night at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The authorities said Saturday they had recovered the weapon and made an arrest, but declined to comment further.
Silver said he spoke with a city homicide detective Sunday to recount the attack.
He had been driving with his husband and another couple to dinner at the Greek restaurant Estia on Locust Street at about 6:15 p.m.
Silver was driving in the left lane, carefully navigating his Toyota through the mass of traffic. Then the three men hurtled out into the street, Silver said, missing the front of his car by just a few feet.
Two of the men attacked each other, he said, while the third managed to stay out of the violence.
“It became very clear they were fighting," he said. “I could see the violence kind of erupting and when they were directly in front of the car, this one guy pulls out a 12-inch chef’s knife."
Silver said he called 911 as soon as he saw the knife. The man who held it, he said, was older — he estimated in his 40s to 50s — tall, and bald. Silver recalled that the attacker had clutched the blade in his right hand.
“I turned my eyes away because I didn’t want to look at another person being stabbed,” Silver said.
Seconds later, the victim was bleeding in front of a seafood restaurant, Luke’s Lobster.
The attack was one block away from a fatal attack in July 2018, when food courier Michael White stabbed real estate developer Sean Schellenger. White, 22, said in a trial that attracted wide attention that he had acted out of self-defense.
White was acquitted of the majority of his charges except for evidence tampering, related to his throwing the knife onto a West Philadelphia rooftop shortly after the stabbing.