Residents of popular Southern California city on edge amid wave of violence

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After a wave of violent incidents in Santa Monica, residents and city officials are expressing some serious concerns, with the city’s mayor calling for more police and asking for the state for assistance.  

As crowds flock to the Santa Monica Pier ahead of next weekend’s Fourth of July holiday, the city has been home to a string of violent attacks since the first of the year.  

Bakersfield resident Lawrence Silva told KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff that he and his family come to Santa Monica on a regular basis.  

“The homeless in this area has always been kind of an issue, but it’s never turned to violence,” he said. “It’s kind of concerning. We thought about maybe going up to a different beach, but we still came back.”  

Just this weekend, five men were arrested after a giant brawl broke out on the beach, leaving one person stabbed and another with a broken ankle. Both victims were hospitalized.  

Earlier in the week, 32-year-old Jawann Dwayne Garnett, who police say is homeless, was arrested after violent attacks on three female beachgoers. He has since been charged with attempted rape and attempted murder.  

On June 11, a 26-year-old man at Jameson’s Pub on Main Street in Santa Monica punched and killed the bar’s manager after he was one of several patrons asked to leave the establishment.  

Late in May, a 39-year-old man believed to be homeless was arrested after reportedly attacking a 73-year-old woman, leaving her with minor injuries. Bystanders also said the suspect had been seen trying to punch others in the area.  

Almost a week and a half before that attack, 29-year-old Larry Ameyal Cedeno was arrested after what appears to be a entirely unprovoked assault near Parking Structure 7 in the 1500 block of 4th Street that left two people hospitalized with stab wounds, one who was listed in critical but stable condition.  

On May 16, a Venice resident who was jogging in the 2000 block of Ocean Front Walk in Santa Monica, was violently dragged by the hair and pulled toward the restrooms. Police said 48-year-old Malcolm Ward, a parolee, intended to sexually assault the victim.  

He was arrested and has since been charged with attempted kidnapping and assault with the intent to commit rape.  

Some people who frequent Santa Monica, like Howard Zickefose, said it’s confusing and disconcerting to be out and about in the city and then suddenly caught up in a swarm of police activity.  

“We were having a wonderful time, returning from shopping at Trader Joes in the middle of the day yesterday and we were swarmed by police,” he said of Saturday’s beach brawl. “They were driving in every direction and there were helicopters flying.”  

Santa Monica resident Elizabeth Brown cautioned tourists in the area to stay aware of what and who is around them while visiting.  

“If you live in a really safe environment and you come here, you just need to be a little more acutely aware of your surroundings,” she explained.  

Phil Brock, the mayor of Santa Monica, has asked the city for $3 million to fund emergency security through the summer and is also calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to step up on the state level as well.  

Read More: Residents of popular Southern California city on edge amid wave of violence

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