LAPD arrest man suspected of assaulting two children in Santa Monica and Venice

Bus stop in Santa Monica where a 6-year-old girl was attacked by a homeless man on March 10, 2024. (KTLA)
A bus stop in Santa Monica where police say a 6-year-old girl was attacked. (KTLA)

A man suspected of punching a 6-year-old girl in Santa Monica was arrested Thursday in Venice on suspicion of assaulting another child, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles police officers responded around 11:15 a.m. to the 1800 block of Ocean Front Walk, where a man described as homeless had allegedly assaulted a 7-year-old boy, according to LAPD spokesman David Cuellar.

Cuellar said the man, whose name was not released, was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of the assault. The condition of the child was unknown.

The incident comes only days after police said the man punched a 6-year-old girl as she was walking with her parents in Santa Monica.

Lt. Erika Aklufi, a spokesperson with the Santa Monica Police Department, said that incident occurred at 7 p.m. Sunday near a bus bench at Main Street and Marine Avenue. She said the girl was with her parents, walking north on Main behind the bench, when the suspect spun around and punched the child, causing her to fall.

Aklufi said the child was not seriously injured.

The assault prompted Santa Monica Police Chief Ramon Batista to deploy its homeless liaison team, a group of police officers and mental health clinicians who engage the unhoused, as well as the therapeutic transport team, which responds to nonemergency calls in the city.

“An incident like this one is an affront to public safety and will not be tolerated. Even more so that a child was involved,” Batista said. “Any crime committed in Santa Monica is a crime too many; our department stands strong in the face of anyone who chooses to victimize those who are in this city."

Detectives with the Santa Monica Police Department are expected to take the lead in the case, according to the LAPD.

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.