The LAPD is preparing to beef up bike patrols and deploy undercover officers along the L.A. River path following the attack and robbery of a cyclist late last week in Elysian Valley.
The assault took place on Thursday night near Riverdale Avenue when a Glendale man who was riding with a group of cyclists was attacked by a person who walked into the path and swung a skateboard into the rider’s chest. Another man hurled a beer bottled, which struck the cyclist’s helmet. The victim provided more details of the assault:
I was able to turn and run away creating 50 feet of distance, but turned back to get a visual and found a group converging on my bike with another two looking at me like attack dogs deciding whether to pursue. I pulled my phone out and pretended to have the police on the phone right away, loudly describing the individuals and “if you’re that close please hurry, they’re still here” which caused the group to disperse off the path.
I followed keeping a safety gap. A few jumped in a silver Honda car with the lights off and peeled out, two more on foot ran down the street, while a girl was hovered over my bike grabbing what she could (a blackberry and portable amplifier).
The bike rider, who was treated at a Glendale hospital for a gash left by the skateboard, said another rider had their bike stolen by apparently the same group. But the other rider declined to report the crime to police, saying he lived in the neighborhood and apparently feared retaliation if he filed a police report.
The victim, who did not want to be identified, said his attackers appeared to be gang members. There has been an increase in tagging and gang activity in Elysian Valley but it’s still not clear whether gang members were involved in Thursday night’s attack , said Capt. Jeffrey Bert with the Northeast Division. He said detectives are looking at several suspects based on information provided by the victim, who also collected a cell phone that might have been dropped on the ground by one of his assailants.
No other assaults or robberies have been reported along the path but Bert said he is increasing night time bike patrols along the river and deploying more under cover officers in the area.
“This sounds awful,” Bert said of the assault. “I am going to put extra enforcement down there.”
The victim cautioned other riders:
Please, be very careful after dark, in fact, some bikers now feel (and prefer) to ride on busy streets in tough neighborhoods or at night so at least the cars passing by may deter these kinds of violent acts.