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Sheriff: Woman beaten by homeless person near Arden Arcade park

Has there been an increase in violent attacks by the homeless?
Has there been an increase in violent attacks by the homeless? 03:06

ARDEN ARCADE – An investigation is underway after deputies say a woman was reportedly beaten by a homeless person near an Arden Arcade park on Wednesday.

Before the heat of the day set in, Susan Millett was out on her Sacramento front porch watering her plants and sweeping away dust. She had an appointment for new curtains to be installed, but instead, she ended the day at the hospital. 

"Bam, bam, bam!" Millett said, as she recounted how many times she was beaten by a homeless man who she said she had seen before at her apartment complex on Fairview Court near Bohemian Park.

The incident happened at Yellowstone Lane and Wright Street, near Bohemian Park.

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, Millett was treated after a subject hit her with a metal broomstick. She refused to be taken to the hospital, deputies say.

She told CBS13 she waited to go to the hospital until her daughter could take her Wednesday evening. In the meantime, her hand was bandaged by paramedics on the scene after she sustained defense wounds. 

Mugshot of 21-year-old Adrian Gonzales who is accused of assaulting a 68-year-old woman at a Sacramento park on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Sacramento County Sheriff's Office

The suspect was identified as Adrian Gonzales, 21. Authorities said Gonzales was arrested at the park.

"He followed me but he stopped because the gardeners were still here," said Millett, "When the gardeners left, he became a crazy, enraged maniac."

She said the dispute stemmed from a request from Gonzales who asked Millett if she would connect him with her gardeners so he could sell them gardening equipment. She refused, she said, as she knew Gonzales to be "destructive" to property. 

"I was in shock! I didn't expect to be hit like that so violently," said Millett. 

She said Gonzales grabbed the metal broom she was using and beat her with it "more than ten times." While on the ground, she said she grabbed a nearby rake or broom to fight back with, but instead, she said he grabbed it and proceeded to beat her with both pieces of equipment. 

"I was pretty much defenseless, but I got injured in the process," said Millett. "I was on my own porch, watering my own flowers, minding my business." 

Millett said she has injuries on her head, neck, back, and hand. 

"No one wants to cast dispersion that every single homeless person is dangerous or a bad person. That's not what we're saying, but there is a segment of that population that's dangerous," said Amar Gandhi, spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office (SCSO). 

Gandhi said SCSO has faced pushback from the homeless community when it comes to help. The sheriff's Homeless Outreach Team connected with 700 people, he said, over multiple outreach operations and only one person received help. Dozens more were interested but did not follow through, according to Gandhi. 

Gandhi told CBS13 that without mandated mental health services, law enforcement hands are tied. Homeless advocates push back and say help must remain voluntary. 

"We still have to protect the public safety of individuals but not by overreacting to the issue of homelessness," said Bob Erlenbusch, the executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness. 

He said while attacks by individuals who are homeless are serious, the risk to people who live unhoused is higher than the average population and is increasing. A large factor in that, he said, is 70% of homeless people live outside.

Gonzales faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, and elder abuse. He is ineligible for bail, according to SCSO, and is in custody at the Sacramento County Jail.

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