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Homeless Man Sentenced to 12 Years for 2020 Stabbing

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By Lookout Staff

August 4, 2023 -- A homeless man convicted of stabbing another homeless man sleeping in Reed park three years ago was sentenced to 12 years in state prison last week.

Gunnar Zausniewski was convicted on July 3 of attempted murder, mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon in the August 6, 2020 stabbing, police said Friday.
Gunnar Zausniewski

Officers responding to a 911 call reporting a homeless man in Reed Park brandishing a large knife at around 9 a.m. that day witnessed the stabbing.

"The officers arrived at the park just in time to see the subject stab someone who had been sleeping on the ground before running away," said Lt. Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.

"After a short foot pursuit, the subject (Zausniewski) was taken into custody," she said.

The victim, a 29-year-old homeless man, "was grievously injured by a stab wound to his abdomen" and transported to a local hospital, where he survived his injuries.

"The apprehension and conviction of this individual was the result of the excellent work of patrol officers who not only caught the suspect but also rendered aid to the victim," Aklufi said"

"The SMPD is also proud of all its detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division who made certain a dangerous criminal has been taken off the streets."

Knife attacks by homeless individuals have been increasing in Santa Monica ("Why Homeless Knife Attacks Have Increased in Santa Monica," March 16, 2023).

On Monday, in the year's first homicide, a homeless man fatally stabbed a 27-year-old man in the the breezeway next to the men’s restrooms south of the Pier ("Man Fatally Stabbed at Santa Monica Beach," August 1 2023).

Unlike firearms, most types of knives -- which are used by the homeless for protection -- are legal to carry without a permit in California.

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