Sex offender accused in Santa Monica beach assault on 3 people

Venice, CA - June 03: Beachgoers under cloudy skies in a view toward Santa Monica on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Venice, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
A view of Santa Monica from Venice earlier this month. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Santa Monica Police accused a Los Angeles County registered sex offender Tuesday of attacking three people on the beach Monday morning, including a 77-year-old woman he allegedly tried to drown in the ocean.

Jawann Garnett, 31, was booked on two counts of attempted murder, one count of elder abuse and one count of assault on a bystander, according to Lt. Erika Aklufi, a spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police.

It's unclear if Garnett has retained a lawyer. He's scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

Santa Monica Police responded to a call at 9:41 a.m. by a 17-year-old girl being attacked on the beach near lifeguard tower No. 13, according to Aklufi.

“We don’t know the motivations of the attacker, only that he attacked her extremely aggressively, causing her injuries,” Aklufi said.

A bystander in her 20s attempted to help the 17-year-old and managed to wrestle Garnett off the teenager, according to Aklufi.

Garnett turned on the unnamed bystander and allegedly punched her once and bit her ear, leaving her “injured and shaken up,” according to Aklufi.

Read more: Two people stabbed, another assaulted in unprovoked attack in Santa Monica

Garnett stopped his attack only to race to the waterline after spotting a pair of seniors, police say.

He is accused of attacking a woman in her 70s and attempting to drag her into the water before police arrived and arrested him.

All three victims were treated at the scene, and two were released there. The 17-year-old was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to authorities.

Garnett is registered as a sex offender on the state’s Megan’s Law database. He is listed as a Santa Monica-area transient who previously pleaded no contest to an assault with intent to commit a sex crime.

He had been released earlier in the month after spending less than a year in prison, according to court documents.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.