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  • Hal Hefner


Updated: Sep 22, 2022

On Tuesday, May 31st, my six year old son and I were viciously attacked by a homeless man whacked out of his mind on drugs while we were walking our dog on our street in Los Angeles. This came out of nowhere as my son and I were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time--in the path of someone criminally insane.

In a brutal, racially motivated hate crime, this enraged maniac threatened to murder my son, then assaulted me with a rake and a shovel and stabbed and cut me with garden shears. This was a fight for my life in which I had to use my bare hands and a shovel to defend myself and my family from a violent criminal who should have never have been on the streets. It was a real life horror movie that I am fortunate enough to have lived through.


As we were walking our dog like we always do, this crazed man came out of a house walkway shrouded in bushes. He aggressively approached us calling us demons in an incoherent mix of Spanish and English swinging a metal lock and chain. Then he stared at me and told my son to "run before you die niño," as he foamed at the mouth in a drugged out rage. He focused in on me with blank, dead eyes bulging out of his head. I sent my son running home to safety and stood there with my dog in hand to stall him.


I tried to diffuse the situation as he became more agitated in a slew of racial insults and psychotic behavior. He howled at the sky and started whistling--calling for friends that weren't there, inviting them to, " kill this white gringo motherfucker." As I tried to escape, he told me he was going to follow me home so he could kill me, my wife, my dog and my children." So I called 911 as and stood behind a car as he yelled at me and was screaming at the sky. He then raided a Gardner's truck and attacked me with a rake. I fought him off with my bare hands, as he cut my forearms and back but dropped my phone. He stole my phone, and picked it up and taunted me with it.

To avoid any more blows and protect my dog, I ran---but he ran after me. This began the onslaught in which I had to fight for my life like never before.


This man was powered up on drugs and had super speed and strength it seemed. He kept relentlessly coming after me with tools he was pulling from more trucks. After breaking the rake and stabbing me in the side with the handle, I rolled my ankle and he fell on me. I was able to escape to a neighbor’s lawn who was watching it. I ran up to their door and I pleaded or help but the neighbor slammed the door in my face and would not let me into their house. My attacker then stood at their driveway yelling racial slurs at my neighbor (who is African American,) saying “I’ll end your race,” before taunting him in Spanish as he and others looked on from inside. He then made his move to try and kill my dog who I had let go of when he attacked me last. He went after my dog saying he was gonna kill her, to lure me off the lawn then lunged at me with the rake bottom again which I knocked out of his hand. I smashed him in the face and stunned him as I limped behind another truck to hide as he screamed to the sky again.


I hurt him and angered him so found a new truck and pulled out a pair of garden shears and said he was going to kill me with them laughing maniacally as he opened and closed them. This was now a real horror movie and there were only two outcomes. I live or I die.

My children (son 6, daughters 14 and 15) watched from our house in terror as this drugged up psychopath tried to kill their father. I was not going down like this. I wasn't going to die for nothing at the hands of this piece of shit. My children raced through my mind as I used every bit of motivation I could to will my battered body to not only defend myself but attack back. With quick thinking (upstate NY instincts) I grabbed a shovel out of a truck in front of me. I could not run due to my ankle and my previous wounds he inflicted upon me when I was defenseless, holding onto my dog’s leash. This was my final stand.

In this act of terror brought upon me for no reason, I fought for my life, swinging the shovel at him to stop him from getting close with the large garden shears. I smacked them out of his hand and they fell to the ground and broke but he picked them up and began using them with swords. I’ll never forget the crazy look of pleasure in his eyes as he attacked me. I swung the shovel over and over at him to defend my life. I knocked one shear like sword out of his hand but he cut my hand with it. He then threw the other one at me and it hit me in my side and he charged me and pushed his weight on me. With my hands badly cut and bruised I lost the shovel and he immediately picked it up and hit me with it. The blows were intense and I could hear my skull crunch and watched my blood splatter as I fought off the shovel blows as best I could.


I somehow managed to run behind a large construction dumpster and scream for help. The toll was taken on me and I was hurt badly. My head was bleeding and I remember thinking that this was it. I was dead, if he got me again because I was too hurt to fight and he was too whacked out on drugs to go down. I knew if he knocked me unconscious there was no doubt he was going to beat me to death. As he tried to come at me from around the dumpster I screamed for help and finally a neighbor responded. My neighbor called my name and told me to come there. The psychopath got distracted enough for me to limp across the street and be carried into their house. The police showed up right then as I went in the house and he took off–with my phone in his pocket.

I was saved from this barbaric monster because of the care of my neighbor. A gesture I will never forget.


A 1/2 hour or so after the incident, I was told the police had captured him. They drove me down to where they got him and he was strapped in the back of an ambulance, screaming. Apparently he had tried to attack the police too with a rake as he stood on the roof of a truck. They took him down and took him to jail.

But what I found out after about this man is truly a condemnation on George Gascon, LA's District Attorney and the approach to our judicial system in Los Angeles County. It tuns out this man is a lifelong felon, out on parole for armed robbery---of a MAN AND HIS 8 YEAR OLD SON! So he has a profile, a thing, some sick, deeply wound PTSD from his own childhood that he takes out on fathers and sons. This man is a life long criminal with a rap sheet dating back to his teens.

What he did to me was a hate crime, it was attempted murder, it was assault and a battery, it was armed robbery. But what will this get him? This man should not be on the streets because he is criminally insane and when you add drugs to the mix it's a bad combo.

There is a massive problem with crime, homelessness and drug abuse in Los Angeles that has only risen since the rise of covid. I just wish my city and state had a real plan to combat it with mental institutions and care for those who are on the streets that are too far gone to be there. This man is a menace to society and should not be aloud to be free. But he will be because Los Angeles County and the State of CA are way too lenient on crime. With no fear of going to jail for a long time, criminals fear nothing.


I'm alive and so grateful that I lived to tell this tale. I can see the sun rise again and the moon greet it as it sets. The simple things in my life now seem far more beautiful. I'm so lucky that I survived as most don't through an event like that. But I will be mentally and physically scarred for life.

Here are some images the day after the attack right before I went to the emergency room.


I'm typing this with one finger. Every press of the button hurts to various degrees. I am alive and well considering what I went through but this man has robbed me of my life. The incident has left me unable to write, create art or work due to my hands, wrist, tailbone, knee and lower back still hurting and healing. I am also dealing with some sort of neurological issues such as memory loss, spots in front of my eyes, balance, zoning out and other weird things. I am angry, sad, frustrated and dealing with PTSD and other mental ramifications from this insane trauma. I am seeing medical professionals about my hands and other extremities as well as mental health professionals to get me back on track.


Needless to say I may be down for a minute but not out. I am determined to use this as motivation for the next big phase of my creative journey on planet Earth.

My life has forever changed.

For one, I could care less about a lot of the things I once stressed over. I no longer have the desire to work on things that I don't have a passion for. I will no longer be enslaved by 12 hour days by meaningless deadlines. Being a father and living my life is much more important than anything else and I am determined to stop sacrificing that life. Because when you reach the point where death is staring you in the face, what you think about are those you love--not the daily grind. When you are almost murdered you learn a lot about yourself such as...

What you're made of.

The limits of what you will do to survive.

The depth at which you'll sacrifice yourself to save those you love.


For the rest of my life I am dedicating myself to making the world a better place. I must. I have to leave this place in better shape than it was when I came in. Sadly as it stands now that is not the case. The environment in particular is something I am most concerned with. Our planet is in peril and it is impacting so much--even homelessness. From the greed of fossil fuel driven corporations to our bought and paid for politicians--the problems we face are all self inflected by past generations. Our human rights and freedom are on the line now and so is the future of the planet for our children and children of the future.

I will heal and when I do I will DEMAMD A BETTER FUTURE. Will you join me in doing so? I challenge you to all help me make this world a better place.

Thank you for being my friends and family. Without you I could not have survived.

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5 comentarios

08 jul 2022

OMG Hal - I'm so sorry this is absolutely frightening. I'm so relieved and glad your alive and on the mend. Your friends and family are here for you! Sending you big hugs, lots of love and strength!

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05 jul 2022

Hal, I am so very sorry you had to endure this attempt on your life and your family’s well being! Our world truly is in peril in all aspects! I see it in the children we teach in middle school as well. This post was well written. Thank you for sharing your story! Sending hugs to you and hoping you get better each day in health, mind, and spirit!

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05 jul 2022

I was just able to read this, Hal, and I’m so sorry you and your family went through this. I‘m so glad you are all okay and sending you much love and healing thoughts. ❤️Kim

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04 jul 2022

Hal, thank god you were strong enough to fight and survive this nightmare. Demand a better future, you got me behind you for sure. Hugs to you and your family.

Sturges <3

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04 jul 2022

Holy Cow Hal. I am so sorry. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. You know I will always support you. Gaston is an idiot. Crime is on the rise and our safety is on decline due to him. I am glad that your son was physically unscathed but I can imaging the emotional impact. You have my number. Much love to you and you family. ~ Lizzy

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