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Venice transient allegedly rapes two women, survivor says “vote accordingly”

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(The Center Square) – At a candlelight vigil for Sarah Alden, who died after being beaten and raped in Venice by a transient attacker allegedly identified as Anthony Jones, another Jones survivor implored the community to “please vote accordingly.”

Approximately 100 members of the community, including firefighters, police, elected officials, staff from the mayor of Los Angeles, and friends and family of Alden and Mary Klein — Jones’ surviving victim from the pair of April 6 attacks — gathered for a candlelight vigil in the Venice Canals. The Venice Canals community, where houses are in close proximity with each other and the median home sells for $4.6 million, is known for being especially close-knit compared to other affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Jones, described by police to KTLA as a 6 feet, one inch tall, 200 pound, black, male transient, allegedly assaulted the women with a blunt object before committing sexual crimes between 10:30 and 11:30 PM, and is charged with murder, forcible rape and sodomy, mayhem, and torture. Jones was caught in San Diego several days after the attacks and is being held without bail.

“What do you say to women who are feeling afraid in their own neighborhood? How do I address the anger of a community pushed to the brink?” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Traci Park, who represents Venice, at the vigil. “It never should have happened.”

“We’re going to move forward united in one purpose, steadfast in our resolve to make Venice— the place Sarah loved — a place where women can walk unafraid, where families and businesses can thrive, and where we can all be safe.”

Klein, a single mother and nurse who was knocked out and nearly beaten to death before allegedly being sexually assaulted, lost her front teeth and had her jaw wired shut after the attack.

“[Sarah] was a good citizen and she was an intelligent, vibrant person who paid her taxes and did everything right. Why are we here again?” said Klein at the vigil. “Remember this could be your mother. So please vote accordingly.”

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, who has accumulated a 15,000 case backlog of unfiled cases, is blamed by many for the state of public safety in Los Angeles for his policies emphasizing alternatives to incarceration. Gascon faces former U.S. attorney Nathan Hochman in the November 2024 election.

Speaking before Klein, one friend of Alden shared her experience of disorder in decline in the community.

“It is scary to walk in Venice,” she said. “I walked this saturday on main street and had a panic attack in the parking lot because people came to me, hassling me, I was cornered against the car. I don’t like that feeling. I don’t want to feel that I need to buy taser guns and mace to walk down the street in Santa Monica and Venice. Please help us make the change.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s 2024 budget — $300 billion lower than the prior year as the city faces a $476 million deficit — calls for increasing police spending from $1.9 billion to $2 billion. The Los Angeles Times says should yield an additional 574 officers and increase the number of officers to 8,733, well short of the approximately 10,000 the force fielded before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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