6-Year-Old Girl Attacked by Homeless Man in Santa Monica

6-Year-Old Girl Attacked by Homeless Man in Santa Monica

A sign sits on the display in front of a popular shopping area of Santa Monica, Calif., on Jan. 19, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

3/13/2024

Updated: 3/14/2024

Police are still looking for the man who hit a 6-year-old girl in the face while she was walking with her parents in Santa Monica on March 10.
The girl and her family, who were visiting from the East Coast, were walking with a friend down Main Street chatting and eating ice cream about 7 p.m. Sunday when the attack occurred, according to the friend, Christina Tullock, of Venice.
“We walked by the bus stop … and he reached out and punched her,” Ms. Tullock told California Insider. “It happened so quickly.”
The disheveled and wild-eyed man was sitting on a bench with garbage thrown all around him and appeared to be on drugs or having a mental breakdown, she added.
“He started screaming, ‘You don’t know who I am!’” and fled after he struck the girl, Ms. Tullock said.
Scared and in shock, Ms. Tullock said she picked the child up from the ground and handed her to her father, called 911, and then followed the man for about a block, adrenaline racing, she said.
Officers arrived quickly at the location, which was on the border of Santa Monica and Venice.
Santa Monica police have not confirmed if the suspect was homeless, according to a spokeswoman.
The suspect was described by police as a 6-foot-1, 30 to 35-year-old black man wearing a black jacket and blue jeans, according to Lt. Erika Aklufi.
“The child was not seriously injured,” Ms. Aklufi told The Epoch Times in an email.
Detectives investigating the assault are trying to locate and obtain video of the incident, she said.
According to Ms. Tullock, the girl is still shaken by the ordeal.
“Santa Monica and Venice are not safe,” she said. “There’re people who are having meth rages and people who are just on the brink of insanity. There’s very little urgency in addressing it, and we as citizens are expected to deal with it.”
John Alle, co-founder of the nonprofit Santa Monica Coalition, said such incidents happen often in the city. He said he hoped the incident would bring the issue to light for local politicians, whom he said were downplaying it.
“The sad thing about this is, it happened to someone so young. I hope she doesn’t suffer trauma for years to come,” Mr. Alle told California Insider. He estimated 10 assaults occur in the city each week.
The coalition, which has conducted its own homeless count, estimates the transient population to be around 2,000 in Santa Monica. The majority of those are on drugs and are not from California, Mr. Alle said.
A family uses a playground near a homeless man in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 2, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A family uses a playground near a homeless man in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 2, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Alle, who owns a real estate company, was a victim of a random attack last year at Palisades Park, also in Santa Monica, near luxury hotels. It was Sept. 19—a Tuesday—and he was taking a break from negotiating a lease on Ocean Avenue, he said.
“I made a mistake and I left my car without my mace and my stun gun,” Mr. Alle said.
He was assaulted from behind by a man he suspects was high on methamphetamine. As he was lying on the ground unconscious, the suspect kicked him in the head 17 more times, he said.
Mr. Alle was rushed to a hospital and underwent two surgeries to fix a broken jaw. A month later, he underwent two brain surgeries after a brain bleed developed, he said.
A homeless encampment in front of luxury hotels in Santa Monica, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A homeless encampment in front of luxury hotels in Santa Monica, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Although police arrested the man suspected of attacking Mr. Alle, he said the problem continues. In addition to the assaults, about four people die in Santa Monica from drug overdoses each week, he said.
In February, the coalition—made up of residents, business owners, and other locals—sued the Los Angeles County Public Health Department and a local family clinic, and plans to sue several former city officials over an ongoing needle distribution program that they say has increased the number of homeless addicts in the city’s parks and surrounding residential areas.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, who represents Santa Monica among other communities, has taken action to address homelessness and behavioral health needs in the county and in Santa Monica, her office told California Insider.
Those include authoring an emergency declaration on homelessness, and launching a therapeutic van pilot program in Santa Monica staffed by the county’s mental health department to support people in crisis, her spokeswoman Constance Farrell said.
The county has also provided 25 homeless people in Santa Monica with shelter in February through the county’s homeless encampment resolution program, Ms. Ferrell added.
Police are encouraging anyone who has video of Sunday’s incident to contact the department’s watch commander at 310-458-8427.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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