73-year-old woman assaulted by homeless man while walking in Santa Monica: police

A homeless man is behind bars for allegedly assaulting an elderly woman and trying to punch random people in Santa Monica, according to police. 

It happened May 23 near the 1600 block of Ocean Front Walk, police said. 

The victim, a 73-year-old woman, told police she was on her morning when she saw the suspect, 39-year-old Jalan Rodger James, "yelling incoherently" and walking in her direction. 

SUGGESTED: Homeless man seen on video throwing rocks onto 110 Freeway

The woman said she tried to get out of his way so he could pass, but "he intentionally pushed her to the ground," resulting in a back injury and cuts on her hands, police said. 

Jalan Rodger James is accused of assaulting an elderly woman in Santa Monica. / Santa Monica Police Department

"He just knocked an old lady down," said Ryan Springer. "In my head, I’m like ‘That could be a grandmother.’"

Springer works at a business near the Santa Monica Pier, and tried chasing after the attacker.

"I just went after him," said Springer. "Tried to detain him there, but he got away up the street."

SUGGESTED: Man stabbed 2 people 'unprovoked' in downtown Santa Monica, police say

Police then received more calls of the same homeless man trying to punch people up the street. Within three minutes, Santa Monica Police arrived using a drone to find and arrest the 39-year-old

"[The drone] has the capability of getting to a location a lot quicker than, let’s say, a patrol officer in a vehicle," said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Jose Rodriguez. "Much like a helicopter would, but in a much quicker, faster sense."

Just this month, FOX 11 reported on two tourists being stabbed, and a third assaulted, near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Two weeks ago, a young woman grabbed by her ponytail by a homeless man while she was jogging in Santa Monica.  Bystanders helped fight off that homeless attacker, as he attempted to drag her towards a restroom.

SUGGESTED: Homeless man dragged runner by her hair on Santa Monica beach path, police say

"It’s like a circus down here," said Isabelle Poore. "You never know what you’re going to see."

Poore works at a business near the Santa Monica Pier. She says sometimes, she doesn’t feel safe.

"There are definitely sometimes where I feel nervous," said Poore.  "I would just love the city to give more attention to this.  It’s only going to get worse. By not doing anything, the city is enabling the behavior of all these people."

"I just kind of tell people to be careful," said Springer. "There’s been multiple instances where things are happening so quick. You just have to really look out."

Police said they're searching for other victims. Anyone with information is asked to call 310-458-8427.