Santa Monica City Hall Stabbing involving Santa Monica Student
It was around 3 a.m. on Friday, August 24th, when Santa Monica College students Miles O’Brien, Danech Kiya, and friend Oliver Konopek had a violent confrontation with a homeless man while awaiting their Uber ride home by Santa Monica City Hall. O’Brien and company had been celebrating the end of their Summer vacation, having gone out for a night of drinking that eventually led them to Tongva Park. As the group awaited their ride, a homeless man approached and began making aggressive comments to the group, before subsequently getting into a brief scuffle with Miles O’Brien, in which he stabbed O’Brien multiple times in the face with an improvised weapon made from a metal picture frame. The students broke up the fight by pulling O’Brien away, who had multiple bleeding lacerations on his face, which would require stitches and will leave scars he will carry for the rest of his life.
As Student Danech Kiya recalled to the Santa Monica Daily Press, “We were all huddled in a circle and this guy started walking towards us. He looked fidgety and jumpy. He came up behind us and pushed us, saying, ‘This is my property, you have my stuff, you’re in my spot’ something like that, just screaming in our ears.” O’Brien also told the SMDP that he felt, “exceptionally threatened,” and openly admitted to striking the homeless man first, stating to SMDP, “I realized that just trying to avoid him and be non-confrontational wasn’t working and I had to defend myself, as he kept trying to mess with us.”
As the physical confrontation broke out, a nearby Santa Monica Parking Officer witnessed the melee, and arrested the homeless man later identified by the Santa Monica Police Department as 29-year-old Javon Patton, who was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Department officials released no details about Patton’s background, but did made it clear that O’Brien had thrown the first punch in the altercation.
As questions arose around the cause of the altercation between O’Brien and Patton, the students insisted that though they had been drinking that night, they were sober by the time of the fight, and that alcohol did not play a role. Regardless, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office decided to drop charges on Javon Patton, releasing a statement to the Corsair in which they stated, “… alleged victim [Miles O’Brien] admits to punching the suspect in the face before the suspect hit him with a picture frame, which was already in the suspects hand…” going on to clarify, “… the suspect was arguably acting in self-defense and thus an unlawful assault cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."
Oliver Konopech, a former SMC student and witness to the stabbing explained that though he has been able to re-adjust to daily life since the confrontation, he has newfound concerns about his security in Santa Monica, stating “it still [sucks] to walk out at night, alone, or in general.” Danech Kiya, who was also on the scene, disagreed with the way Santa Monica Police and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office dealt with the case, stating, “I don't think the case was handled properly. All I've heard is that he was let go a while after what happened.” Kiya went on to explain that he felt Santa Monica’s homeless population needs to be “better controlled,” to prevent altercations like this from happening again in the future.
O’Brien, who was not able to be reached for comment, was released from the hospital the same day after receiving ten stitches for his injuries.