A parolee pleaded not guilty Wednesday in an alleged unprovoked attack on an Olympic silver medal-winning volleyball player earlier this month in downtown Los Angeles.
Semeon Tesfamariam, now 52, was charged July 12 with a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon against Kim Glass.
The charge includes allegations that the victim suffered great bodily injury and that he was previously convicted of a serious and or/violent felony in 2020, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
In a video posted on Instagram, Glass discussed the alleged July 8 attack, which left her with a black eye and bruises.
Glass — who was an outside hitter on the 2008 U.S. Olympic women’s indoor volleyball team — said she had lunch with a friend and while they were saying goodbye, “this homeless man ran up. He had something in his hand … and he just like looked at me … and as I turned to go tell my friend I think something’s, like, wrong with him and I think he’s going to hit your car … before I knew it, a big metal bolt, like pipe, hit me.”
She said people in the area who saw the attack subdued the assailant and held him until police arrived.
Glass said she does not believe her vision will be impacted long-term, noting she “got really great stitching from the doctor.” She said she had multiple fractures around her eye.
She urged people to “just be safe out there.”
Los Angeles police said the attack occurred at Olive and Eighth Streets. The suspect was identified as Tesfamariam, who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said.
He has remained behind bars since then, according to jail records.
In a statement earlier this month announcing the charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George GascÃ³n called it “a brutal, unprovoked attack.”
“Mr. Tesfamariam has a troubling history of attacking apparently random people with dangerous weapons,” the county’s top prosecutor said. “His behavior appears to have escalated with time.”
His first felony assault occurred in 2018 and the second in 2019, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which noted that he was initially sentenced to probation and later was sentenced to state prison and was on parole at the time.
The latest attack involved a 10-inch metal bolt that was thrown at Glass’ face, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
His arraignment had been delayed when criminal proceedings were suspended after a doubt was declared July 12 about his mental competency.