ENCINITAS — A transient woman suffering from a drug-induced mental health crisis assaulted a local council member with a belt on Tuesday night in downtown Encinitas before fleeing the scene and locking herself in a bathroom at a nearby train station, according to law enforcement and witnesses.
Councilman Tony Kranz, dining out with his wife and friend, told The Coast News he encountered a distressed homeless woman kneeling on the sidewalk shortly after 6 p.m. on Aug. 16 near the corner of D Street and Coast Highway 101.
“She was in a bad way,” Kranz said. “Clearly, the demons had firm possession of her.”
Upon asking her if she needed assistance, Kranz said the woman immediately became more agitated, got off her knees into a squatting position and swung a small belt at the mayoral candidate, striking him in the thigh with the buckle after he partially deflected the blow with his hand.
Kranz reported sustaining no marks or injuries in the assault that occurred near the outdoor dining tables in front of Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana.
The woman, who had reportedly peed on herself during the altercation, fled the scene heading northeast before locking herself in a bathroom at Encinitas Station. Kranz and his wife called the Sheriff’s Department and drove to where they could observe her until law enforcement arrived at the transit depot.
Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team arrived at the train station and convinced the woman to come out of the bathroom to allow paramedics to conduct a medical assessment, Capt. Dustin Lopez told The Coast News.
According to Lopez, based on her vital signs, including an elevated heart rate, first responders determined she was likely suffering from excited delirium due to narcotics.
The woman, whose identity was not made public, was transported to the hospital and placed on a 5150 protective hold reserved for individuals suffering from an acute mental health crisis.
Lopez said deputies and homeless outreach team members had interacted with the woman on multiple occasions over the past several weeks.
Roughly 30 minutes before the assault, Kranz and his friend, sports journalist Neil Best of Newsday, reportedly observed the same woman behaving strangely by the tennis courts near Cottonwood Creek on the west side of Coast Highway 101.
“She was engaged in crazy behavior there, and we talked about the challenges of dealing with the homeless,” Kranz said. “I noticed she wasn’t there when we were returning downtown, but, alas, I found her again.”
Kranz said he is not pressing charges.
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