The historic landmark that is Olvera Street has offered tourists a glimpse into the city’s past, but it’s now colliding with its painful present. After the most recent, violent attack, which was captured on video, merchants worry about their own safety and that of their customers at this public park.
The restaurant La Noche Buena was the final stop for an alleged attacker’s angry stroll down LA’s oldest street on Jan. 29 around 12:20 p.m.
“The whole block, she started hitting people left and right,” Guillermo Garcia, one victim of the woman’s attack, said.
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Surveillance video shows a 21-year-old woman identified by the LAPD as Gladys Eusebio first taking a swing at a security guard and then throwing what can she grab, including napkin holders, salt and pepper shakers and flower vases.
“The lady gets one of the salt shakers and just throws them at my dad, right here in the eyes!” Garcia said. He said his father, who owns the restaurant, is now dealing with damage to his eye.
Video shows a line cook and waiter pushing the woman away, even kicking her. She retaliates by picking up a baby stroller and throwing it at him. That’s when one employee takes charge, tackling her.
Garcia wonders why the Olvera Street security guard standing there did nothing to help the employee.
“He actually pulled her down, restrained her down. That’s not his job, that’s security’s job,” Garcia said.
The woman is homeless, and was arrested immediately and is in custody for assault with a deadly weapon, according to the LAPD.
Although security does patrol Olvera Street, and so does the LAPD, struggling merchants have complained that they see fewer and fewer tourists as more and more homeless people arrive.
Vendors share photos of naked men and stories of crime, “crime that goes from extortions and robbery,” Manny Paz, another business owner, said.
The fear is that after this assault, the crisis on this famous street will drive it into oblivion.
Some shop owners say the solution is for the city to create a safe zone around Olvera Street, finding ways to help the homeless and help the vendors stay in business.
“The city of LA has to be more aware of what’s going on,” Garcia said.