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Homeless Man Stabs City Worker in Palisades Park

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By Jorge Casuso

March 16, 2023 -- A City worker was stabbed by a homeless man he tried to rouse from his sleep Wednesday morning in Palisades Park, according to police.

The worker was the ninth victim stabbed in 5 separate incidents reported by police since late October. Eight of the assaults took place Downtown or near the beach.

Barna Allen Cranford

The suspect -- identified by police as 40-year-old Barna Allen Cranford -- was arrested for felony assault early Friday morning, said said Lt. Erika Aklufi.

The victim was transported by the Santa Monica Fire Department to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life-threatening injury, Aklufi said.

At around 8:15 a.m., officers responded to a 911 call from a Downtown Ambassador reporting a subject down near the Camera Obscura building at 1450 Ocean Avenue.

"Arriving officers located a City of Santa Monica employee who had been stabbed in the upper torso when he attempted to rouse an individual sleeping in the area," said Lt. Erika Aklufi.

"The suspect fled the area prior to officers’ arrival," Aklufi said.

The following morning, the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), in conjunction with the Special Operations Division, identified a possible suspect, she said.

At around 11 a.m., officers located and arrested Cranston, who is in custody for aggravated assault.

Aklufi said Cranford seems to have recently arrived in the city.

"I don't know how long he's been in Santa Monica, but our only contact with him ha been this month," she said.

"It looks like it's been only a short time our HLP (Homeless Liaison Program) Team knew him, but not for anything violent," Aklufi said. "There was no indication this was going to happen."

The attack comes less than two weeks after a homeless man attacked three Black victims with a metal pipe in the morning on March 3 ("Homeless Man Charged with Attempted Murder in Hate Crime Attacks," March 10, 2023).

The first attack took place at around 7:30 a.m. on the 1100 block of Santa Monica Beach near the California incline, police said. The victim was walking his dog.

The second assault took place some 20 minutes later near the Downtown Expo train platform, where two victims -- a homeless man and woman -- were camped.

The latest attacks furthered a trend that has seen knives increasingly used in local crimes over the past six months.

On October 24, two men were stabbed in unrelated incidents -- one took place near the entrance to the Pier, the other near the Ken Edwards Center ("Police Investigate Two Stabbings Downtown," October 25, 2022).

On November 17, police arrested a homeless man suspected of stabbing two men on the beach in Ocean Park -- one by a public restroom, the other on the bike path ("Homeless Man Arrested after Stabbing Two at Santa Monica Beach ," November 18, 2022).

And on January 1, a man was stabbed at The Manor, a residential facility for mentally ill and developmentally disabled adults at 1905 Pico Boulevard ("Stabbing Outside Mental Health Facility Furthers Trend," January 13, 2023).

Anyone with information on Wednesday's incident or the suspect involved should call SMPD Detective Pollnow at 310-458-8455 or email him at or call the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8426.

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