For a minute or two, things were unfolding as they often do on Washington’s roadways. A driver is cut off. Horns blare, tempers flare, but the drivers, mercifully, go their own ways.
Outside a Bethesda shopping mall this week, such a dust-up instead escalated and — as laid out by prosecutors in court Friday — nearly left two people dead. First they had to dodge a car coming at them at ramming speed. Then they were stabbed, one so hard her abdomen wall was perforated.
“This was a very serious case of road rage,” prosecutor Robert Hill told District Judge Gary Everngam, arguing that the suspect in the case, David Goldberg, 24, should be held in jail without bond pending further court proceedings in the case. Goldberg, of Potomac, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of reckless endangerment as well as other counts.
Everngam agreed, noting that police accounts describe Goldberg responding to the original confrontation by tracking down the other car. “The court has grave concerns,” the judge said.
Goldberg’s 2-year-old daughter was in a car seat of his Mitsubishi sports car. His attorney, Paul Chung, said that may have played a role in what happened. “I think that facts will come out that this was a situation where Mr. Goldberg was afraid for his safety and safety of his child in the car,” Chung said in court.
Goldberg grew up in Montgomery County and earned a high school Graduate Equivalency Degree in 2007, according to Chung, and recently worked at the Macy’s store at Montgomery Mall, according to a September filing in his ongoing divorce case. He has a bad back and receives SSD benefits, according to the divorce records.
Goldberg has a limited, if any, criminal record, according area court records. In 2010, though, a relative obtained a restraining order against Goldberg after he threatened to kill her, according to court records and prosecutors. Goldberg’s weapon in that incident turned out to be a BB gun, Hill said.
In court Friday, Goldberg was beamed in via a video and audio feed from the county jail, as is typical for Montgomery bond reviews. More than a half-dozen of his friends and relatives sat in the courtroom. Up on the screen, Goldberg’s voice quivered several times as he answered pro-forma questions about his name and whether he had received his arrest paperwork.
After the hearing, Chung and Goldberg’s family declined to comment.
The events at issue started about 2 p.m. Thursday, when Goldberg’s Mitsubishi approached a four-way stop sign outside Westfield Montgomery Mall and eased through the intersection without making a complete stop, according to arrest records filed Friday. The driver of another car at the intersection honked. In response, Goldberg yelled out of his car with an expletive-interjected message to “back off,” according to the arrest records.
From there, the second car followed Goldberg in his Mitsubishi. At the next stop sign, the male passenger in the second car got out and approached the Mitsubishi before it sped away. This second car — which held the driver, her male passenger, an older woman and a young child — then continued toward the mall, parking near a Sears store. The vehicle’s occupants got out to head into the mall.
“These people were on their way to the mall and it was over with for them,” Hill said.
Then, from across the parking lot, the Mitsubishi came roaring at them, jumping over a curb as it did so, said Hill, the prosecutor. As one witness told police, the driver was trying to run them down, Hill said.
The Mitsubishi did not strike them, but police said Goldberg stopped his car and got out. He and a man from the other car started to fight, police said. Police said Goldberg slashed the man on the left side of his face and right bicep and stabbed him in the upper back. The driver of the second car tried to stop the fight, and Goldberg stabbed her in the stomach.
Police found Goldberg on the upper level of a parking garage near a California Pizza Kitchen restaurant. Police said Goldberg told them, “I didn’t mean to do this.”
The female victim was rushed into surgery, Hill said, and is expected to be hospitalized for several days.