A woman in Los Angeles, California, said she fears for her safety after she was attacked by a homeless man who poured a bucket of feces on her head.
"It was diarrhea. Hot liquid. I was soaked, and it was coming off my eyelashes and into my eyes," Heidi Van Tassel told NBC4 Los Angeles. "Paramedics who came to treat me said there was so much of it on me, that it looked like the man was saving it up for a month."
Los Angeles police arrested Jere Blessing in the attack and charged him with battery. Records show Blessing, who had been living on the streets of L.A., showed "schizophrenia and psychotic disorders." He was released from a mental institution in August, the station reported.
"It's so traumatic. The PTSD that I'm dealing with is beyond anything that I've ever felt," Van Tassel said.
Van Tassel's story highlights a growing epidemic in major cities across the country. Los Angeles Police Department data shows homelessness and crime carried out by people living on city streets has skyrocketed in recent years.
In 2019, police recorded more than 2,400 arrests of homeless people on assault charges.
The attack has left Van Tassel shaken. She says she is afraid to go into public for fear of coming face-to-face with her attacker again.
"I will never, ever, forget his face," she said. "What’s the next thing he’s going to do somebody? If he would’ve had a knife, for sure he would’ve stabbed me."