Beloved Venice security guard speaks out after losing finger in homeless attack

A beloved Venice security guard is speaking out after a brutal attack by a drunk homeless person who allegedly broke a bottle over the guard's head, and stabbed him repeatedly in the head, torso, and wrist. Saliva from the attacker ultimately infected one of his wounds, which resulted in his ring finger being amputated on his dominant hand. With the homeless crisis exploding in the Venice area, he felt it was time to share his story.

On June 3, 2021, Tariq Ali — known simply as "T" — approached an intoxicated homeless man who was loitering in a parking lot near a local school off of Washington Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. Having repeatedly asked the man to leave in the past, he was prepared to take action.

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"When he came towards me, I maced him, but unfortunately the wind came into my eyes and maced me. That’s when I got stabbed in the head, slit in the wrist, and I lost a finger because of an infection," Ali said.

"Right after the attack, I was in shock, because once the mace [wore] off, I was just looking down, and I was like, ‘Why is all this blood flowing down, like, where’s this blood coming from?’ And then I realize he’s stabbed me in the head multiple times and it was from the head wound," Ali said. "Once I got my composure back, I sat down and I was just thinking, ‘This is my last day. I might have about 10 minutes’ or something because I was losing a lot of blood. The next day, there was so much blood in the parking lot, I don’t even know how I survived."

While trying to defend himself, Ali punched his attacker in the mouth. The man's saliva ultimately infected one of T's wounds, and his ring finger on his right hand had to be amputated.

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Community members rallied together to support T, catching his attacker, helping with his hospital bills, and starting a GoFundMe for support. The attack also brought business owners together to work on new security measures for the area.

"When my incident happened, it was the first time it was like ‘Oh my god, it’s one of us. This has to stop,’" Ali said.

On any given day, Ali can be seen chatting with the area’s business owners and locals all over Washington Square. He carries dog treats in his pocket for his favorite local pups — who excitedly drag their owners to him — and small gifts like stickers for the local kids, who adore him.

Local Mom Stacy Baxter credits Ali for giving her young children a sense of normalcy as the homeless crisis explodes around them.

"I feel like T is the old-school representation of Venice. He really brings out the best in people, helps people smile, just brings joy into peoples lives," she said.