A homeless woman from Washington state was arrested Monday after she allegedly pulled out a knife just a few feet away from Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino during a speech and said "I’m going to start killing people."
Buscaino, a mayoral candidate who represents the 15th Council District, was speaking at the Venice Beach Boardwalk about the city's homelessness crisis and had just urged a city crackdown on tents in parks and on beaches and sidewalks. "Our city has devolved into a place where chaos is common ... people tell me every day that they no longer feel safe in our city.?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Buscaino had finished his speech and according to Fox 11, was shaking hands when an attendee, Nico Ruderman who said he saw the woman standing behind Buscaino holding a knife. Ruderman told Spectrum News 1 SoCal that he "was keeping an eye on her because she seemed a little off."
Ruderman said, "All of the sudden, I see her, out of the corner of my eye, pull a knife out." Ruderman added that the blade was six to eight inches long. "I look her in the eye, and she says, 'I’m going to start killing people,' and I jumped forward and grabbed Joe."
Two Security guards drew their firearms and rushed Buscaino to a black SUV. Police officers detained the woman, Alaia Smith, 19. The Times also reported that the suspect was homeless and told the crowd that her name was Angel as she was being arrested.
She was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The Times reported that during the arrest, a police captain was cut with the knife and received medical treatment.
Smith was booked on a misdemeanor charge, then released on her own recognizance later in the day.
Buscaino, who served in the LAPD for 15 years, said in a statement, "I am grateful for my safety, the safety of the public, and the quick action of the Los Angeles Police Department. This is exactly why I was in Venice Beach today, charting a new course for our city, and I am convinced now, more than ever, that bold action is needed to make our city safer for everyone, regardless of housing status."
Buscaino is running for mayor next year when the term of Eric Garcetti expires. Garcetti's tenure expires next year and has been tarnished by a massive homelessness crisis, despite a massive amount of government spending to combat it.