Suspect charged in assault on Olympic volleyball player in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man with a criminal history was charged Tuesday with assaulting a former Olympic volleyball player last week in downtown Los Angeles, prosecutors said.

Kim Glass, a silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said she suffered multiple facial bone fractures when someone threw a metal object – possibly a pipe – at her last Friday.

Bystanders held the man – identified by police as Semeon Tesfamariam – until officers arrived to take him into custody. He was held without bail.

Tesfamariam, 51, faces one count of assault with a deadly weapon that includes allegations of having previously been convicted of a violent crime, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Glass was leaving a lunch when she saw a man running with something in his hand and throwing it at her head, the athlete said in videos posted on social media.

“He just looked at me with pretty hateful eyes,” she said in videos posted to Instagram. “It happened so fast, he literally threw him off the street, he wasn’t even near me at all.”

Glass, from Los Angeles, posted videos showing his eye, nose and cheek injuries. She said she believed her vision would be fine and thanked a doctor for stitching her up near one of her eyebrows.

The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to an email asking if Tesfamariam had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Tesfamariam was arrested for felony assault in 2018 and 2019, the district attorney’s office said. He received a suspended sentence first, then a state prison sentence and was on parole at the time of the latter alleged offence, according to the statement.

His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday, but doubts were raised in court about Tesfamariam’s ability to stand trial, the district attorney’s statement said. He was due to appear in court on August 17.

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