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Grandmother Carrying Infant Allegedly Assaulted By Unhoused Woman In Venice

VENICE (CBSLA) - As tensions between Venice residents and city leaders heat up over the homeless situation, an unhoused woman allegedly assaulted a grandmother and her 9-month-old granddaughter on the boardwalk Wednesday morning.

"My worst nightmare come alive," said Katy Gross, mother to 9-month-old Gilda.

The alleged assault took place off Venice's Oceanfront Walk by a homeless woman who, police said, was having a breakdown.

Venice Homeless 1
Drops of coffee, allegedly thrown at her by an unhoused woman experiencing a mental breakdown, dot 9-month-old Gilds's head. Jan. 19, 2022 (CBSLA).

"She heard the woman right behind her, saying, 'You, you give me that baby,' and she turned around. The woman lunged at her, said, 'Give me that baby. They took my baby, so I'm going to take your baby,' and then she, with both of her arms, grabbed my mom's wrist and pulled the coffee that my mom was holding out of her hand and then threw it at my baby's face," Gross said.

The coffee, fortunately, was not very hot. So, baby Gilda is okay. Her grandmother and parents, however, are not.

RELATED: Battle Over Homelessness Heating Up Yet Again In Venice

On Tuesday, CBSLA spoke with Gross about reported plans to set up a homeless services center their home and school. It's billed as a place where people who need to decompress from a breakdown or heavy drug and alcohol use will get help.

Gross told CBSLA that she can't understand why it's planned for a park where an encampment was just cleared out not long ago.

"Some of them starting fires, a lot of screaming profanities, high and just screaming nonsense right in our back yard. It was terrifying. I feel like this is bringing back what we fought so hard to make a safe space for everybody," she'd said.

Now, Gross is even more convinced about the need to find a solution for the homelessness, away from parks and schools and children.

"I don't harbor resentment toward that woman. I hope she finds help, but I also want there to be protection for us as well. She is very vulnerable," Gross said of her infant daughter. "That woman is vulnerable. They both need protection.

Some said the incident underscores the value of the new "Circle" program recently rolled out in Venice and Hollywood, where unarmed crisis response teams, instead of police, go out on nonviolent calls involving people who are homeless. If a team had first been called for the woman in distress, the scary confrontation and her arrest might have been avoided.

"Everybody is used to having the police come and you lock someone up thinking that's the solution, but you know...but tax-wise, human-wise, it's a very deficient option," said Mike Bravo, who is on the Venice Neighborhood Council.

Gross said she can see Bravo's point, but would still prefer the woman be off the streets until she's healthy.

"It's not helpful for her to just continue to pile on charges, be released, get more charges. That's just keeping her in a loop in a system that's not making progress in her life," Gross said.

As for the unhoused woman suspected of the alleged assault, police said she is facing battery charges.

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