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Survivor contestant is stabbed and beaten by a homeless woman in Santa Monica 

California Pilates instructor and former Survivor contestant needed several stitches after being smashed in the head by a metal baton-wielding homeless woman who had assaulted two other people near the crime-plagued Santa Monica boardwalk earlier that morning.

Michelle Yi, 37, was opening her Pilates studio where she’s a teacher just before 6am Thursday when she noticed a disheveled woman nearing the front door. 

‘She was yelling all sorts of things like, “You stole my identity” and, “You’re a prostitute,”’ said Yi, who competed on the 2007 Fiji-based 14th season of the reality series. 

The attacks come as southern California tries to crack down homeless encampments which are blamed for a spike in crime, graffiti and arson. 

‘Santa Monica has a homeless problem, and I’ve dealt with this type of thing before. So I told her, “Ma’am, you can’t be here. You need to leave.”’ 

Michelle Yi, a California Pilates instructor who once competed on a season of CBS’ Survivor, was recently attacked by a homeless person

 The deranged woman then lunged at Yi with a knife and a metal baton, she said, and was stabbed in her left biceps. 

‘And then she hit me on the right hand with the baton. My Apple Watch shattered.’

The assault continued as the homeless woman hit Yi on the head with the baton, which split open her face, she said.

‘Blood was everywhere,’ a shaken Yi said. 

Yi says that one of her students immediately dialed 911 but only received a message saying operators were busy. They eventually got her help by flagging down a police car.   

Yi, who competed on the Fiji-set 14th season of Survivor, was attacked by a woman when opening her studio to students on Thursday

Yi, who competed on the Fiji-set 14th season of Survivor, was attacked by a woman when opening her studio to students on Thursday

The attack comes as southern California continues to deal with a devastating homeless problem

The attack comes as southern California continues to deal with a devastating homeless problem 

‘When we arrived, the suspect was still on the scene,’ said Lt. Rudy Flores, a spokesman for the Santa Monica Police Department. ‘The officers took her into custody and interviewed the victims and the witnesses.’ 

Yi was hospitalized and received several stitches to her face but suffered no fractures, an X-ray determined.  

She remained a little confused as to why this happened to her but suspects race may have played a part in the attacks. 

‘I can’t say why she attacked me, of all people,’ says Yi. ‘But she was a white lady who attacked three people that morning. Another victim was an elderly Asian man who was walking his dog, and the third was also a person of color. 

‘I can’t prove whether it was racially motivated or not, but she was screaming all sorts of awful things at me. The facts are what they are.’

Yi was hospitalized and received several stitches to her face but suffered no fractures, an X-ray determined

Yi was hospitalized and received several stitches to her face but suffered no fractures, an X-ray determined

Yi has dealt with the homeless problem in her area but had never been attacked like this before

Yi has dealt with the homeless problem in her area but had never been attacked like this before

Police confirmed the other attacks but suggested the women may may have mental health issue.   

‘It appeared that she was mentally unstable and maybe off her medication,’ said Flores. ‘That probably caused her to do what she did.’

Police have not named the suspect but charged her with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. She has not been charged with a hate crime. 

Yi, who finished in 10th place on her season of Survivor, is still reeling from the attack.  

‘It was really awful,’ she said. ‘It was dark when this happened. I hope that police will have more protections during the hours that we need them most.’

While much of Venice has seen a homeless population boon, it appears the problem has leaked into Santa Monica, a mere three miles away

While much of Venice has seen a homeless population boon, it appears the problem has leaked into Santa Monica, a mere three miles away

The area claims that tourism and visitors have declined in recent years due to the increasing homeless problem

The area claims that tourism and visitors have declined in recent years due to the increasing homeless problem

She said that she doesn’t have family living near her, as her parents are in Taiwan while her siblings live in the Bay Area.

‘Physically, I’m on the mend,’ she said. ‘Emotionally, it’s harder, but I should be ok.’   

Back in May, exclusive DailyMail.com photos showed tent-dwellers who have abandoned downtown LA’s Skid Row and the freeway ramps in Long Beach, turning a short stretch of prime property just south of the Santa Monica border into the nation’s newest flashpoint between business interests and those forced from their homes. 

And while tourists and locals still visit the iconic boardwalk – a place they have long shared with the weird and the wacky – visitors’ numbers have decreased as they must contend with an ever-growing army of homeless and the crime that accompanies them. 

Residents in the area are considering moving — but property prices have dropped by anything between 10 and 30 percent. 

BEFORE: Venice Beach wasn't always this way. A
The homeless have abandoned downtown LA's Skid Row for Venice Beach where a city of tents are set up on the sand and along the boardwalk

2015 vs. 2021: The homeless have abandoned downtown LA’s Skid Row for Venice Beach where a city of tents are set up on the sand and along the boardwalk

BEFORE & AFTER: The area of Venice Beach is now riddled with crime, making the area less appealing for locals and tourists
BEFORE & AFTER: The area of Venice Beach is now riddled with crime, making the area less appealing for locals and tourists

2015 vs. 2021: The area of Venice Beach is now riddled with crime, making the area less appealing for locals and tourists – and looks much different than it once did in 2015

'I can't even walk my dog or go bike riding along the Venice Beach bike path anymore, one longtime Venice resident said. 'It's too scary and just too violent'

‘I can’t even walk my dog or go bike riding along the Venice Beach bike path anymore, one longtime Venice resident said. ‘It’s too scary and just too violent’

DailyMail.com found syringes — one with a needle still attached — nestling in the sand in a children's play area

DailyMail.com found syringes — one with a needle still attached — nestling in the sand in a children’s play area

The homeless population has mushroomed in Venice. A count in 2014 showed only 175 people living rough. Five years later that figure stood at more than 1,200. But it is over the last few months that things have spiraled out of control

The homeless population has mushroomed in Venice. A count in 2014 showed only 175 people living rough. Five years later that figure stood at more than 1,200. But it is over the last few months that things have spiraled out of control

A parent told DailyMail.com, 'No one wants to have a birthday party at the beach or in a park and be confronted with needles and human feces. And that's saying nothing about the possibility of criminal acts or a mentally unstable individual'

A parent told DailyMail.com, ‘No one wants to have a birthday party at the beach or in a park and be confronted with needles and human feces. And that’s saying nothing about the possibility of criminal acts or a mentally unstable individual’

'We see fights almost daily. There is drug use out in the open, there is semi nudity as they urinate and defecate under a tree. We've had our bikes stolen, there's fires, there's needles everywhere, and the kids at the school are exposed to it all,' one resident said

‘We see fights almost daily. There is drug use out in the open, there is semi nudity as they urinate and defecate under a tree. We’ve had our bikes stolen, there’s fires, there’s needles everywhere, and the kids at the school are exposed to it all,’ one resident said 

Cops sweep through on a regular basis, more to show they are a presence than to actually make arrests, say business owners on Ocean Front Walk,­ the official name of the boardwalk

Cops sweep through on a regular basis, more to show they are a presence than to actually make arrests, say business owners on Ocean Front Walk,­ the official name of the boardwalk

The near-mile-long stretch of boardwalk where the encampment has sprouted is far from the only tent city in Venice. Quiet residential streets are lined with grimy camper vans

The near-mile-long stretch of boardwalk where the encampment has sprouted is far from the only tent city in Venice. Quiet residential streets are lined with grimy camper vans

Many people in the area are considering moving as the authorities seem unable to do anything about the homeless— but property prices have dropped by anything between 10 and 30 percent, so a move may not be economically viable

Many people in the area are considering moving as the authorities seem unable to do anything about the homeless— but property prices have dropped by anything between 10 and 30 percent, so a move may not be economically viable

'We have people shooting up in front of the school, playing loud music all day, yelling at each other, hitting thing, fighting. These people are not in need of beds. They need help and leaving them to do whatever they want on the sidewalk across the street from our neighborhood school is outrageous,' said one mother

‘We have people shooting up in front of the school, playing loud music all day, yelling at each other, hitting thing, fighting. These people are not in need of beds. They need help and leaving them to do whatever they want on the sidewalk across the street from our neighborhood school is outrageous,’ said one mother 

DailyMail.com found syringes — one with a needle still attached — nestling in the sand in a children’s play area on the beach, emblematic of how the people for whom the area was designed are now being pushed out. 

‘I can understand why people don’t want us here,’ Ian told DailyMail.com. ‘But don’t blame us for everything. I didn’t turn your son into a drug addict. I didn’t turn your daughter into a prostitute. I didn’t steal your bicycle.’  

The homeless population has mushroomed in Venice. A count in 2014 showed only 175 people living rough. Five years later that figure stood at more than 1,200. But it is over the last few months that things have spiraled out of control.

Fires are a major problem. Blazes linked to homelessness have shot up threefold in the three years since Los Angeles Fire Department officials have been logging them. Seven people died last year in the city and property damage shot into the millions of dollars.

A wildfire raging in Topanga Canyon, north of downtown LA started near a homeless encampment and officials say it was started deliberately. Two people have been arrested in connection with the fire which has so far destroyed more than 1,300 acres.

One blaze destroyed a cute little one-story home a couple of blocks from Venice Beach, just across the street from both a pre-school and an elementary school, killing Togo, owner Courtney Gillenwater’s eight-month-old husky mix, as DailyMail.com revealed exclusively. An official determination has yet to be made, but neighbors have no doubt as to the cause.

‘My main concern now, and even before the fire, is the health and safety violations going on right in front of these schools,’ said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified for her own safety.

‘We see fights almost daily. There is drug use out in the open, there is semi nudity as they urinate and defecate under a tree. We’ve had our bikes stolen, there’s fires, there’s needles everywhere, and the kids at the school are exposed to it all.

‘It is obvious that wherever you allow these encampments, violence and criminal activity will follow,’ said the mother of two young children.

She also pointed to a graffiti-covered van parked directly outside the preschool, the Westminster Early Education Center. ‘It has its gasoline-powered generator running 24 hours a day pushing out fumes. If that were to go up in flames, I dread to think what damage it would cause.’

The tent city itself has its dramas just like any other human settlement. Earlier this month a 30-year-old woman from Virginia gave birth in one of the oceanfront camps, the Venice Current reported

The tent city itself has its dramas just like any other human settlement. Earlier this month a 30-year-old woman from Virginia gave birth in one of the oceanfront camps, the Venice Current reported

Last month a tent was deliberately set on fire. One local woman talks of how she was chased by a man with a sword

Last month a tent was deliberately set on fire. One local woman talks of how she was chased by a man with a sword

The Venice boardwalk is still a must-see for many visiting Los Angeles from across the country and the world. 'I expected it to be funky, but wasn't quite expecting this,' said Anne Davies, 36, in from Ohio. 'Would I come back? I don't think so. I've seen it once, I've smelt it. I don't think I need to do it again'

The Venice boardwalk is still a must-see for many visiting Los Angeles from across the country and the world. ‘I expected it to be funky, but wasn’t quite expecting this,’ said Anne Davies, 36, in from Ohio. ‘Would I come back? I don’t think so. I’ve seen it once, I’ve smelt it. I don’t think I need to do it again’

A homeless man was shot and injured on April 28. The gunman calmly walked away. The victim is not cooperating with police

A homeless man was shot and injured on April 28. The gunman calmly walked away. The victim is not cooperating with police

The encampments are creeping ever closer to the famed picturesque Venice Canals. One resident there is presidential son Hunter Biden who rents a house for $17,500 a month

The encampments are creeping ever closer to the famed picturesque Venice Canals. One resident there is presidential son Hunter Biden who rents a house for $17,500 a month 

Crime where the suspect was listed as homeless has risen by 31 percent in Venice over the past year, according to police statistics, analyzed by NBC News. Homeless victims of crime rose by 83 percent in the same period.

Many people in the area are considering moving as the authorities seem unable to do anything — but property prices have dropped by anything between 10 and 30 percent, so a move may not be economically viable. 

The encampments are creeping ever closer to the famed picturesque Venice Canals. One resident there is presidential son Hunter Biden who rents a house for $17,500 a month. Secret Service officers sitting outside have to contend with the stench from a small encampment on the other side of a parking lot.

The tent city itself has its dramas just like any other human settlement. Earlier this month a 30-year-old woman from Virginia gave birth in one of the oceanfront camps, the Venice Current reported. 

A homeless man was shot and injured on April 28. The gunman calmly walked away. The victim is not cooperating with police. Earlier the same week a tent was deliberately set on fire. One local woman talks of how she was chased by a man with a sword.

Cops sweep through on a regular basis, more to show they are a presence than to actually make arrests, say business owners on Ocean Front Walk,­ the official name of the boardwalk.

Erik Laykin, a lifelong Angeleno whose family moved here in the 1890s, has come up with a plan to build five or six complexes nationwide, each housing some 50,000 homeless. 'This is a national problem, not a local issue,' he told DailyMail.com. It plagues the whole country'

Erik Laykin, a lifelong Angeleno whose family moved here in the 1890s, has come up with a plan to build five or six complexes nationwide, each housing some 50,000 homeless. ‘This is a national problem, not a local issue,’ he told DailyMail.com. It plagues the whole country’

Laykin, 56, founder of a group called Homeless Help America, believes there are plenty of decommissioned military bases across the country that could fill the need. 'They already have the infrastructure, the roads, the plumbing, the electricity,' he said.

Laykin, 56, founder of a group called Homeless Help America, believes there are plenty of decommissioned military bases across the country that could fill the need. ‘They already have the infrastructure, the roads, the plumbing, the electricity,’ he said.

Business has dropped off for the restaurants, bars and T-shirt shops that are the staples of the boardwalk. But it is too early to say how much that has been due to the pandemic and how much is due to tourists staying clear after hearing how the homeless have taken over

Business has dropped off for the restaurants, bars and T-shirt shops that are the staples of the boardwalk. But it is too early to say how much that has been due to the pandemic and how much is due to tourists staying clear after hearing how the homeless have taken over

'My main concern now, and even before the fire, is the health and safety violations going on right in front of these schools,' said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified for her own safety

‘My main concern now, and even before the fire, is the health and safety violations going on right in front of these schools,’ said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified for her own safety

Fires have become a major problem. Blazes linked to homelessness have shot up threefold in the three years since Los Angeles Fire Department officials have been logging them

Fires have become a major problem. Blazes linked to homelessness have shot up threefold in the three years since Los Angeles Fire Department officials have been logging them

Business has dropped off for the restaurants, bars and T-shirt shops that are the staples of the boardwalk. But it is too early to say how much that has been due to the pandemic and how much is due to tourists staying clear after hearing how the homeless have taken over.

‘We need help,’ one shop owner told DailyMail.com, asking for anonymity for fear of reprisals. ‘But the city does nothing for businesses. They are more worried about getting sued for taking some piece of crap from one of the tents.’

Politicians are increasingly feeling the pressure to do something — anything — to control the numbers of homeless in Venice.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin, whose district covers Venice Beach came up with plans to build new ‘tiny homes’ close to state beaches. ‘These are not encampments. They are an emergency response — an alternative — to encampments, and they are temporary solutions meant to get people off the streets and into homes,’ he wrote his constituents in an email.

But as one of his plans was to use a parking lot at the picturesque Will Rogers State Beach — where Baywatch and many other TV shows and movies were filmed — Bonin’s idea has set off its own firestorm with some 20,000 Angelenos signing a petition opposing his plan.

Another camp would be at Dockweiler Beach, a piece of sand directly under the LAX flightpath where planes shatter the peace every couple of minutes as they take off for destinations around the world.

Ted Lieu, the Democratic congressman who represents the area in Washington, is calling for a national answer. ‘This is not just a problem for our state or region,’ he said last year as he introduced his Prevent Homelessness Act, which would create a $500 million Housing Stabilization Fund with the aim of stopping people becoming homeless in the first place.

Erik Laykin, a lifelong Angeleno whose family moved here in the 1890s, has come up with a plan to build five or six complexes nationwide, each housing some 50,000 homeless. ‘This is a national problem, not a local issue,’ he told DailyMail.com. It plagues the whole country.’

Laykin, 56, founder of a group called Homeless Help America, believes there are plenty of decommissioned military bases across the country that could fill the need. ‘They already have the infrastructure, the roads, the plumbing, the electricity,’ he said.

‘We obviously cannot compel people to go. It’s a free country,’ said Laykin, who lives in the Westchester district of LA, southwest of Venice, where the centerpiece Westchester Park has been taken over by the homeless.

‘But we can compel people not to sleep in the park and in front of storefronts.’

Angry Venice residents boo City Councilman Mike Bonin as he spoke about the Palisades Fire news conference on May 17 at Will Rogers State Beach, one of his proposed sites for a homeless camp

Angry Venice residents boo City Councilman Mike Bonin as he spoke about the Palisades Fire news conference on May 17 at Will Rogers State Beach, one of his proposed sites for a homeless camp

‘We need help,’ one shop owner told DailyMail.com, asking for anonymity for fear of reprisals. ‘But the city does nothing for businesses. They are more worried about getting sued for taking some piece of crap from one of the tents’

'We obviously cannot compel people to go. It's a free country,' said Laykin, who lives in the Westchester district of LA, southwest of Venice, where the centerpiece Westchester Park has been taken over by the homeless. 'But we can compel people not to sleep in the park and in front of storefronts'

‘We obviously cannot compel people to go. It’s a free country,’ said Laykin, who lives in the Westchester district of LA, southwest of Venice, where the centerpiece Westchester Park has been taken over by the homeless. ‘But we can compel people not to sleep in the park and in front of storefronts’

These are all long-term plans. But it’s the short term that concerns residents and business owners in the area.

‘We have people shooting up in front of the school, playing loud music all day, yelling at each other, hitting thing, fighting. These people are not in need of beds. They need help and leaving them to do whatever they want on the sidewalk across the street from our neighborhood school is outrageous,’ said the mom who shot the fight video.

Yet the Venice boardwalk is still a must-see for many visiting Los Angeles from across the country and the world. ‘I expected it to be funky, but wasn’t quite expecting this,’ said Anne Davies, 36, in from Ohio.

‘Would I come back? I don’t think so. I’ve seen it once, I’ve smelt it. I don’t think I need to do it again.’

And that, says Erik Laykin, is the problem. ‘Venice Beach has always been edgy, that’s part of its appeal, it’s a funky, unique environment where the ultra-wealthy coexist with people bootstrapping it.

‘Tourism is a big part of LA, but people are now reading about this all over the world and they’re thinking ‘I’m not going to Los Angeles, I’ll go to the South of France instead for my vacation.’


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