“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
To begin this portion of the storytelling, I think this is a good place to provide a little back story. My fiancé Deanna and I lived in a condo together for about two years at this time, and we had made friends with the condo owners next door. When they moved out to move into a home they had purchased, a tenant moved in. A single mother and her son moved in, and we quickly learned that the mother was rarely home and left her high school-age son home to come and go as he pleased. Within the first few weeks of their residency, we had made quite a few complaints about noise from their arguments and his friends coming and going at all hours of the night.
This day, July 11th started like any other day. Deanna and I got up, saw the kiddo off to school, and went to work. When we worked just a block from each other, we would commute the short distance to and from work every day. After work, Deana dropped me off at home, and she headed to the gym to get a workout in. During the summer, the kiddo spends some nights having fun sleepovers with his grandparents, which was one of those nights.
I settled into an evening routine, by starting to load the dishwasher when I hear some commotion in the neighbors’ backyard. I go upstairs to look down into the yard next door and see 5-6 high school age looking kids, several Costco sized bottles of alcohol and they seem to be smoking, and based on the pipes they were using, my best guess at the time was that is was likely crystal meth or similar substance. While it was a bit disturbed, I hoped they would keep the party contained to their unit, and eventually move on, like they often did.
Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened, as 10 minutes later I start hearing fireworks going off in the front of the house. Fireworks are very illegal in Santa Clarita, mostly because our hillsides are a tinderbox most of the year with fires being a frequent fear.
I went outside to investigate, and I see one of the teenagers throw fireworks at another teenager. I tell them that fireworks are illegal and you can’t have a party in the common area so they are going to need to take it inside. This sets off a firestorm of homophobic names and comments about me being a “ginger” all of this caught me a little off guard because you have high school kids that do not live in our community breaking a whole host of laws. You would think they would want to keep a lower profile.
Once I realized that one of them (turned out to be the only adult who was 22 years old) was filming me and that this situation was going nowhere fast. I told them “OK, fine I am just going to call the Sheriff’s and let them handle it” and started to walk back to my door. That is when the physical assault began. One of them began the tussle with me, and then everything went black. I would later learn from the alleged police investigation that I get hit in the head by a large Waste Management trash can, and knocked unconscious.
They actually fully admit this action to the police, more on this later before I digress.
Some time goes by I am not sure how much and then I just remember seeing stars which sort of jolts back to consciousness. While I am completely unconscious and unable to defend myself I am kicked full on in face which breaks 7 bones in my face, including all 4 sides of my orbital bone, 2 fractures to the nose, a fracture to my cheekbone and a broken tooth.
When I came back too I am laying on my side, all I remember is the taste of copious amounts of blood. I get up and stumble to the wrong house. The teenagers think this is hilarious and I remember their laughter, and hearing words, but could not tell you what exactly was said. As I stumble over to our door, an immediate struggle to figure out how to call Deanna begins. I believe I had to voice dial a few times since I could hardly put a sentence together Siri couldn’t understand me. It was hard to speak and the screen of my iPhone was covered in blood. When I finally got through to Deanna, her initial thought was that I sounded heavily inebriated, but she had only been gone about an hour. I struggle to get the words out. She vividly remembers me saying, “They got me. I think I’m dying.”
A few minutes later Deanna and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, and a few of the high school kids try to flee along with the adult who threw the trash can and the one who kicked me in the face while unconscious. The adult male is the only one that managed to escape. As the Sheriff’s round up the high school kids and handcuff them, as this is going on paramedics begin to get me on a scope to put me on a stretcher to get into the ambulance.
As I am wheeled out of our home, one of the kids who somehow went completely unnoticed by Deputies takes his phone out and tweets a picture of me being put in the ambulance with the comment “Me and my homies did work to this bitch..”
Soon after the tweet deputies finally, notice him and start to bring him over with the rest of the kids when he begins yelling, “Do you know who f*** my dad is?”, to the deputies. As it turns out 2 of the individuals were brothers and their dad was a motorcycle LAPD officer.
As a deputy is telling Deanna that someone from the department will be coming over to the hospital to take a report of the incident. She recalls, that suddenly all the kids are being uncuffed and let go into their parent’s custody without a single charge being filed?!? Deanna didn’t have time to question this since she has to get to the hospital which I am now en route.
When I get to the emergency room they have to put me in a hallway, I can’t see anything because I took my contacts out as my eye was starting to swell. I am quite scared at this point and begin yelling for Deanna. Hospital staff keeps telling me to calm down but I don’t stop and I am glad that I didn’t because it was that yelling that got Hospital security to let Deanna in the back with me.
Emergency room staff brings me into another room to begin working on me, and I turn over and throw up the pint of blood that has been going down my throat since the attack. I remember the doctor saying that I was kicked in the face and that whoever did this to you should have their ass kicked.
Since I was on my back the entire time in the emergency room, the time in the emergency room is such a blur for me, the time felt like I might have been in there an hour or two when in reality it was actually more like 10+ hours. So I am going to have Deanna fill in the blanks for the rest of the night in her own words in the next blog.