Shortly after midnight a little more than two weeks ago Larry Workman looked down the hall of his West Hollywood home, saw a hooded figure standing in the hallway and began to scream. The man in the hood was carrying an ice pick, and he had splashed paint the color of blood across the front of Workman’s Hancock Avenue house. A neighbor heard Workman’s scream and called out his name. That prompted the hooded figure, who was carrying an ice pick and a bag, to slowly walk out the front door of the house. He threatened that neighbor with the ice pic and told her that he would “hurt her.” He also threatened another neighbor with the ice pick, telling him: “You stole my husband.”
The incident was the latest and, for Workman, the most frightening in a series of threats and encounters with Randy Tullis, the man who had been his partner for 20 years from whom he is now divorced. As disturbing as it was, Workman said, he also is concerned about how the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has handled the matter.
Despite the fact that he and two of his neighbors were confronted by a man carrying an ice pick who threatened them, Workman said the deputy who responded to the incident was only willing to charge Tullis with felony vandalism and didn’t even mention one of his threatened neighbors in his report, who Workman has been dating.
“It was a very, very frightening incident,” Workman said. “I thought I might die. There were three of us who faced the possibility of being severely injured or getting killed. We explained what happened, and the response was ‘You can get a restraining order.’ Only after we insisted did they bother to come onto the front porch to see what had happened and take pictures.”
Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said the report filed by the deputy on the scene didn’t mention the ice pick. In any case, Smith said, “Just because you have it in your hand doesn’t mean it’s an assault. You have to make the aggressive motions with it.” Smith said Det. Catherine Castro now has been assigned to the case and plans to interview Workman’s neighbors who were at the scene.
Workman, who is gay, said he has been trying to get help from local law enforcement for two years, with no success. “It’s always been my word against his,” he said. But he had hoped that the fact that two other people were threatened that night would have made a difference. “They’ve told me all along, ‘why don’t you boys just work this out?'” he said of his contacts with Sheriff’s deputies. “I actually went down to the sheriff’s station at the beginning of last year and said ‘What are you doing about the handgun?’ (referring to his previous complaint that his spouse had an unregistered gun. The deputy he spoke to, who had previously been called to Workman’s house in December of 2013, said “I’m not sure how they are going to handle your gay divorce.”
“There is established social homophobia that says two men are different than a man and a woman,” Workman said. “That’s true. But it doesn’t make my needs and my rights less important to be protected.”
“I have said to them on multiple occasions that I don’t want to have to be in a body bag to prove I’m right.”
Workman said that deputies made no attempt to look for Tullis in the neighborhood that night. Workman said the deputy at who responded to the call for help did ask for his ex-husband’s address, which Workman couldn’t immediately find.When Workman took the address to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station later that day, Workman said he was told that because his ex-husband lived in Beverly Hills they couldn’t deal with the matter until Monday. On Monday when he returned with a domestic violence restraining order he was told that the detective assigned to the case wouldn’t be in until Tuesday, Workman said.
Workman remembered that his ex-husband regularly attended the West Hollywood United Church of Christ on Sunset Boulevard and drove there on the Sunday after the incident with a friend, where he saw his ex-husband drive into the church parking lot and walk into the church. He called the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. “They said, ‘Oh, that’s LAPD. Let me get you that number. We can’t handle that’, ” Workman said.
After begging them to respond, Workman said as many as four squad cars came from West Hollywood. Tullis was arrested, but in the process banged his head on a squad car, which led him to be taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was released later that same day. Tullis is out on $20,000 bail and has been served with the domestic violence restraining order. Attempts to locate Tullis to serve him civil harassment restraining orders to protect Workman’s neighbors have unsuccessful to date.
After struggling for two years to ensure that he is safe from attack by the man he once loved, Workman believes he has run out of options. “I am dealing with someone who is smart enough to work the system and maniacal enough to kill me,” he said.
An earlier version of this story erred in describing Workman’s discovery Tullis at a church in Beverly Hills. Instead he found Tullis at the the West Hollywood United Church of Christ on Sunset Boulevard The story also erred in describing Tullis as Workman’s husband. The two are now divorced. The story has been updated to reflect those corrections.