Housemate got assaulted- what's going to happen now?

I have a housemate who just got physically assaulted.

There is this very muscley, heavily tatooed asian guy who lives across the street. Up until now we haven’t had any problem with him, though he does glare at me when I’m going to/from my car (sometimes I have to park on the curb). Earlier this morning, while my housemate was leaving to catch a bus, the Yakuza looking guy suddenly attacked him, knocked him to the street, and started pounding on him with his fists. Housemate screamed for help and somehow managed to scramble back to our house, where another housemate helped get him inside and shut the gate so crazy Yakuza guy couldn’t get to him.

We called the cops, and the moment the cop car drove down are street Yakuza guy took off running. The police officer told him to stop and he complied. While the police officer was asking him questions, the Yakuza guy was giving him a lot of lip, telling him off, avoiding eye contact, and shifting around. After putting him in the car, the police officer then questioned my housemate on what happened, and he explained it.

Yakuza guy’s version of the story was that they had a fight. He admitted to punching my roomate, but insisted it was some sort of argument that escalated to fisticuffs. Housemate vehemently denies it, helped by the fact that he looks very battered and shaken, and Yakuza guy doesn’t have a scratch on him. Yakuza guy was also doing the very sterotypical ‘crazy shirtless guy’ behavior you see on COPS, mumbling to himself, etc.

The cops took him away, but my housemate’s biggest fear (and also my own) is that this guy might get bailed out and be living across our street. The disturbing thing is that he could have attacked anyone- If I had decided to substitute this morning it could have been me being attacked. Since I was a mere witness to this event, and not a participant I’m not 100% sure about everything, but I am interested in hearing any anecdotal opinions/stories about similar events. Obviously if the guy comes back home I am going to be extremely wary, particularly for my girlfriend who often comes over/leaves late at night.

Holy crap. You mean you have a bona fide crazy person living across the street?

I’ve got no advice but I do want to offer my sympathies and best of luck.

Advise your friend to get a restraining order at the least.

Speak with the prosecutor asap, and explain why any interm release should include a term requiring that dum-dum keep at least 1 block away from your friend.

Just because he may get released does not necessarily mean that he should be permitted to go back to the same neighbourhood.

If he is permitted to return to his home, carry a video camera at all times.

That might not hold up in court. IANAL, but I think there’s some touchy issues about cameras and stuff in courts. I, personally, would consider investing in a cheap security camera system outside the house, maybe, with a SIGN saying there’s a camera. If they’re alerted to the fact that they’re being filmed I don’t think it’s illegal. It depends on the jurisdiction.

Restraining orders are nice and all, but if the guy’s got it out for you guys, it’s not gonna do much. If you’re worried about your girlfriend, make sure there’s always someone else to make sure she gets in and is alright when she comes over - it’s gonna be a hassle but it’s better than her getting hurt because you’ve got a whack job living in the neighborhood.

And I second talking to the prosecutor - explain to him that you guys are feeling a little threatened now. Sometimes they deny bail on the fact that there’s a possibility of retaliation. At the least they could keep him behind bars until he goes to court.


Housemate is definitely going to get a restraining order against Mr. Yakuza.

What sucks about it is that my housemate had sold his car a while back, because he was planning on moving to San Francisco (feeling like a car would be more of a hassle in the city). Since he is still looking for a place there he is in kind of a lurch, living in a San Jose suburb and having to take multiple buses to work.

There is also the reality that I could’ve been beaten up instead of housemate- last night I decided I didn’t want to sub today. If I had subbed, I would have been outside when Mr. Yakuza, mumbling incoherently while wandering about in his front yard shirtless, saw me and took an instant dislike for me.

(Aside - I’m a long-time lurker here, and finally got a little free time in my life and decided to register. I’m planning on getting a full-fledged membership Monday when my debit card comes in, and I just wanted to say by way of introduction that I’m really looking forward to participating in the Straight Dope community!)

Incubus, I had a sort-of similar situation happen to me last year; I was attacked while sitting in my car in the parking lot of a friend’s apartment complex, but fortunately I managed to escape before real damage was done - it sounds like your friend wasn’t so lucky.

Because this guy lives across the street, I’d suggest that you keep in touch with the police - even bug them if you have to. My experience was unfortunate in that I got a really apathetic officer who refused to even file a report or pick up the guy afterwards, and as a result of that my friend was harassed, threatened, and had her tires slashed before something was finally done. What I mean to say is, if you don’t see the guy for a day or two, don’t assume that everything that needs to be done is getting done - get a contact number for whoever is assigned to the case, and keep yourself informed.

Overall, my experiences with the police have been positive, but this time I just had some crap luck and got one of the useless people you can find in any profession. I hope your housemate is alright, and that you guys won’t have to feel unsafe on your own sidewalk anymore!

If the guy is renting his place, you may want to talk to his landlord. Could be he has violated some provision of his lease that the landlord oughta know about…

So he just walked over and knocked your housemate to the ground? Any words exchanged before then?

I think a restraining order is definitely necessary. It isn’t a true barrier but it would help if something happens again. A call to the police with a mention of an in-force restraining order would be taken more seriously both by them and the judicial system.

I was the “victim” of an attempted armed robbery in 1999. I fought both of them off and then ran until I could circle back to a secure door in my apartment building and called 911. Based on what I hear about similar cases, the police and courts took it unusually seriously from the time I spoke to the operator until teams were dispatched minutes afterward and until the second one was sent back to prison almost two years later (they were recently released prisoners and had a police and DA alert on them).

You never can tell who these people are. I would strongly recommend that your housemate call the District Attorneys Office and offer to do anything and everything to send this to trial and get a conviction. I would bet a new $100 bill that this person has done something similar in the past and has a record. The DA is the one that can pursue these things and the caseload is often prioritized but what is getting the most pressure. The Boston District Attorney’s Office was unusually good to me because they were considered extremely dangerous repeat offenders and wanted to be aggressive with the guys that attacked me. They treated me like a star on multiple occasions and both of them are back in maximum security.

They will take it seriously if it is important to your housemate. I know it may be a little scary to be a one-sided attack victim but there are things your housemate can do.

Have him get a concealed carry weapon (CCW).

Oh, wait, you’re in California? Sorry… :frowning:

For one thing look for people outside before you just run out the door. You now know the guy will attack without provocation, so don’t leave if you see him out there. You have to evaluale what to do at the time he’s out there.

Get a shotgun for the house. You need protection.

Or consider joining a gang that way you will have brothers who have your back.

I’m not sure of the laws where you live but I would think a can of mace might be a good idea for people living in your house.

Criminal brothers who will kill you as soon as look at you. Awesome idea.

I would advise against a firearm, unless you’re psychologically prepared to take a life. Brandishing might not be good enough. You have to be prepared to use it.

Somewhere I read "Never point a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. Never shoot a man unless you intend to kill him. Words to live by.

If you can’t own “Mace” or somthing like that, take up plans to start a Neighborhood watch. Security in numbers?

I dont know what to tell you, but your situation is in my prayers.

Do you know if Yakuza Guy is insane? You might be able to get him put in an asylum?

We had an insane neighbour when I was in high school. She hated my dad and one of my older sisters - the rest of us she basically ignored. She would do weird things like planting broken glass in the alley behind our garage, following my sister to her boyfriend’s house and waiting in the bushes with her face painted black, just generally acting strange (she never did anything violent to any of us, though). The thing about getting into a war with a crazy person is that they are so much better at acting crazy than you are. The guy might be convicted and sent to jail for a while, but chances are he’ll be out fairly soon, and then things might really escalate. The only solution might be moving if it comes to that.

As well as keeping in regular contact with the police regarding the incident, I would suggest keeping a record of anything and everything that could be construed as threatening or hostile. This can be used by the police to evidence a pattern of behaviour.

He may not behave violently (and we can only hope not), but if he exhibits anti social behaviour and his conduct propagates an environment of fear and distress, documented evidence can only help support a case against him.