A father of two lost an eye after he and his family were attacked last weekend by a homeless man with a machete on a beach in Malibu, an affluent city in Los Angeles County, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said.
The suspect, identified as Richard Franck, was charged this week with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, FOX 11 of Los Angeles reported.
Another homeless man who was with Franck during the alleged attack was charged with accessory to attempted murder, the Malibu Times reported. He was identified as Benjamin Mast.
The out-of-town visitors – three adults and two children — were eating lunch last Sunday at Dan Blocker Beach in Malibu when the suspects approached them, claiming falsely that the family wasn’t allowed to be there, reports said.
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An argument ensued and Franck allegedly brandished his weapon and began attacking the father, cutting his face, an eye and his tongue, chest and one of his hands, according to FOX 11 and the Times.
Both suspects then chased the family to the parking lot, authorities said.
The father was taken to a hospital in stable condition, the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station reported.
The two suspects were arrested after briefly barricading themselves in a public restroom near the parking lot.
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County Sheriff Alex Villanueva alleged in a tweet Thursday that Franck had threatened a sheriff’s deputy in April with a knife but was released four days after his arrest because the office of liberal L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon had filed only a misdemeanor charge.
Gascon has been under fire by crime victims and many in law enforcement for policies that they view as being soft on crime. The district attorney has countered that some criminal justice practices have treated suspects unfairly.
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Villanueva hosted a community event on Thursday to discuss safety concerns in Malibu.
Homelessness in Malibu and other areas of Los Angeles has increased recently and other crimes have been reported in the area, FOX 11 reported.