The man with a blood-soaked face and hands who was found near the Gelson’s Market parking lot last Monday has been identified.
He is Anthony Villegas, 23, who works as a fashion consultant and publishes a popular blog called OfMiceAndMensWear.com.
Villegas’ mother, Desiree Ortiz, reached out to WEHOville today to offer information about her son’s attack. A story published on WEHOville last week recounted rumors that had spread among Gelson’s employees and neighbors on North Kings Road, some of whom believed a dead body had been found in the parking lot. Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station told WEHOville that a man with bleeding lacerations to his body was in or near the Gelson’s parking lot sometime in the early hours of Monday morning and was mobile. Smith said that deputies called to the scene tried to talk to him to learn what had happened, but the man refused that and their offer to help. A resident of North Kings Road who watched Sheriff’s deputies arrive on the scene told WEHOville that Villegas actually was just outside the Gelson’s parking lot at the water fountain on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Kings.
Ortiz said her son initially was unconscious when he was found. The resident who observed the situation, who asked that he not be identified, told WEHOville that Villegas was conscious when the deputies arrived. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Ortiz said he suffered five fractures to his face, two of which were near his eye socket, which may require plastic surgery. He also suffered injuries to his back.
Ortiz said her son, who is gay and currently lives with her in Cypress, had been visiting friends in West Hollywood and was having a drink at Barney’s Beanery. He left that restaurant and bar on Holloway Drive near Hacienda Place to visit a nearby friend’s apartment. Ortiz said the friend never saw Villegas but spotted his car parking where it had been the night before.
Ortiz said doctors at Cedars-Sinai said his injuries could be consistent with a beating, a rape or being hit by a car. Ortiz said sheriff’s deputies interviewed her son at Cedars but that he recalled nothing about the incident after his departure from Barney’s Beanery.
Ortiz said her son has “a very positive attitude” about his recovery. He was transferred to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and now is at home. Friends have launched a “Go Fund Me” effort online to help pay for Villegas’ medical care. As of publication, it has attracted 48 contributions totaling $2,400. A Gelson’s employee found Villegas’ cell phone.
Ortiz said her son hopes that news of the attack will spur West Hollywood residents and visitors to be more aware of their surroundings.
“He wants people to be aware of their surroundings, to be alert as to where they are. He’s a small guy with an alternative lifestyle and he was a target,” she said, alluding to her son’s gay orientation.
While it’s not clear exactly where Villegas was attacked, the fact that he was found on a corner of North Kings Road has alarmed people on that residential street. On Dec. 29 a man delivering food from Bossa Nova restaurant to a condo at 1025 N. Kings Rd. was shot several times by someone who stole his credit car processing machine and cell phone. The attacker, who had been involved in a number of violent crimes, was captured by the L.A. Police Department on Jan. 4.
The North Kings Road attack was one of at least ten street robberies taking place mostly in the city’s residential areas in November and December. One of those, on Dec. 6, occurred in front of 1250 N. Kings Rd., just south of Fountain Avenue. The Inglewood police last month arrested several people who the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station believes may have been involved in some armed street robberies in West Hollywood.
While the city and the Sheriff’s Station continue to tout West Hollywood as one of the safest places to “live, work and play,” publicity about the street crimes has alarmed local residents, some of whom say they have curbed their night life excursions.
A 2014 report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows that West Hollywood had the highest rate of “Part 1” crimes of any of the 23 areas it serves. Part 1 crimes include crimes against people and property such as arson (no reported incidents in West Hollywood in 2014), homicide (one incident), rape (seven incidents), car theft (87 incidents), robbery (theft that involves force; 96 incidents), burglary (breaking or entering; 220 incidents) and larceny (theft that doesn’t involve force, such as stealing a bicycle or shoplifting: 1,191 incidents). A report on serious crimes from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station showed a 14% increase last month over November 2014. A major reason for the increase was a surge in petty thefts, defined as theft of property worth $950 or less, which were up 47%. There were only nine armed robberies, down from seven in November 2014.
Sergio Aloma, the West Hollywood station’s acting captain, told the City Council recently that the station has stepped up car patrols on residential streets and on the city’s Eastside.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A resident of North Kings Road who observed the Villegas incident told WEHOville that he was discovered at the water fountain on the corner of the Gelson’s parking lot and not within the parking lot. This story has been updated to include that correction.
There seems to be a lot of info missing in this story. First off, why was he at Barney’s Beanery? Second, who did he meet there? Third, if he was going to see a friend, how come that friend did not know where he was? Fourth, why didn’t he want any help, if he was attacked? And, no where does this say it was a gay bashing, and that corner where he actually was, is a very visible and open place with a constant traffic flow. Just doesn’t all add up.
Nope, no mention of it at the Council Meeting as I thought.
Bob – I respect your experiences. My comments cast a wider net, not necessarily you, about a lot of people who regularly post here about how dangerous WeHo is. That’s BS. It is an urban area, in the middle of a 15 million person megalopis. We have crime, but for the intensity of outsiders visiting, nighclubs, performiance venues, hotels et al, it is at normal or below levels. This particular incident, whatever the cause, is of course worrisome. But to use it to generalize about how dangerous WeHo is to me is out of proportion to the reality here. Our… Read more »
Chris Sanger I would like to thank you for such a wonderfully mature response without knowing a thing about me, and referring to my decision as cowardice. Perhaps it would help you to understand that decision if you knew that I have lost two friends in the predominantly gay district know as Boystown in Chicago, and another in New Orleans due to hate crimes such as this. I was also stabbed while defending another friend from an attack in Boystown. Have you ever felt a five inch knife blade penetrate your abdomen? Believe me it’s not an enjoyable experience, nor… Read more »
@Bob Smith – don’t let this article or the comments make you believe the crime in West Hollywood is exclusive to the GLBTQ community. The unfortunate high rate of crime here is rarely motivated by these specific reasons. The bigger issue is that it’s sadly underserved by a police department not equipped to effectively protect its residents, the thousands of visitors who come each night, and the increasing amount of foot traffic. I understand your decision to avoid coming here, but I fear you are jumping to conclusions about some of these attacks based on the comments and even the… Read more »
@SE Don’t get me wrong I have been to and enjoyed West Hollywood on more than one occasion. Though in the last couple weeks I have seen more of these incidents occurring, and with certain events that I have been through (see my response to Chris) it makes me take pause before booking my next weekend away. I also fully understand that this is not the fault of the many wonderful citizens I have interacted with there, but more mismanagement of resources by the powers that be, and they tend to take notice more quickly when a problem costs them… Read more »
Randy, right after I wrote that comment about Barney’s Beanery I thought better of it, so I just didn’t Confirm the comment, thinking that would be the way to take it back ……… but it was posted anyway.
Oh please. It is incredibly safe here. These incidents are unfortunate, but we the idea that there is significant risk here is absurd. People’s cowardice sure comes out in these comments.
I feel really bad for this guy, but something about this story doesn’t add up. We can’t work to prevent situations like this if we don’t know what actually happened here. What is being hidden?
“Smith said that deputies called to the scene tried to talk to him to learn what had happened, but the man refused that and their offer to help.”
I don’t understand this part.
Well I guess I’ll be rethinking my vacation to WEHO next month. Dallas or Denver have less violence towards the community, and the fact that Dallas, TX is safer for gays than a city in California for glbt people really says something…
What was it they told us in the Army; ‘shoot three times and yell halt.’
Randy, i agree 100%.
we talk. talk. talk and blame the world but most of our residents do NOTHING, but talk and complain. we say we care. we say we love. time to show you care and love.
it’s time to wake up, WEHO.