Michelle Yi, two other unnamed victims attacked in area of 2nd and Arizona
By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro
Michelle Yi, a former contestant on the television show “Survivor”, and two other unnamed victims were attacked in Downtown Santa Monica recently by a Fresno woman who has been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
The assault occurred on October 14 at 6 a.m. when Yi was outside the Platinum Pilates Studio where she works near 2nd Street and Arizona Avenue. According to SMPD Public Information Officer Rudy Flores, a woman struck Yi with a metal pipe and poked her with a reciprocating saw blade. The assailant was identified as Alexandra Diaz, a woman listed as being missing from her home in Fresno, CA.
According to Flores, “there is no indication whatsoever that this was a hate crime. Unfortunately, the suspect suffers from mental illness and it appears she was off her medication.”
Yi had a cut on her right eyebrow that required stitches and a bruise on her right eyelid. She drove to a nearby hospital for treatment. The other two victims had minor injuries and refused treatment.
As reported by The Sun, one of the unnamed attack victims “attempted to call 911, but apparently received a message that all operators were ‘busy.’ A few minutes later, they flagged down a passing patrol car on the street.”
The Santa Monica Office of Emergency Management–the agency in charge of 911 calls–provided the following statement regarding these reports:
“A passerby placed the first call to 9-1-1 before the injury occurred, which was received by dispatchers at 5:56 a.m. with SMPD units arriving at 6:01 a.m. Dispatchers received a second report by a City employee at 6:00 a.m. and a third from the pilates studio at 6:02 a.m. at which time SMPD was on scene.”
“If a large volume of calls occur at the same time, it can cause someone to get a message indicating that dispatchers are busy and to stay on the line. To avoid this and meet the City’s goal of answering 9-1-1 calls within 10 seconds, dispatchers triage 9-1-1 calls quickly, in order to identify the most urgent caller,” the statement continues.
On Monday, October 18 the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed three counts of assault with a deadly weapon against Diaz.
In the wake of the attack, Santa Monica City Councilmember Phil Brock issued a statement in which he called for more assistance to help people suffering from mental illnesses.
“The assault and battery that occurred within our city on October 14th and received widespread media coverage is regrettable. I want to extend my best wishes to all three victims for their quick and full recovery. The lady who Santa Monica Police apprehended at the scene of the incidents was arrested, is in custody and has been charged. There are some misconceptions about the incident. The woman who committed the crimes had traveled from Central California a day earlier and had been reported missing from her home. Reportedly, she was in mental distress. The reports that some media ran with today were also exaggerated,” Brock said. “All cities in California need more urgent assistance with those who suffer from mental illness, wherever they may live. It is my hope that the Governor’s office will provide that help. Above all else, my thoughts and prayers are with the three Santa Monica residents who were assaulted and they have my prayers for their full mental and physical recovery.”