An Idyllwild resident was assaulted and battered outside the Idyllwild Library at midday last Tuesday, April 24.
According to Jason Halvorsen, 56, a nearly two-year resident of Idyllwild, he was sitting at the benches and chairs the library provides at the west end of its front outside walkway, talking with a friend, Brandon. Suddenly, they became aware of a man and woman shouting and screaming at each other as they approached. The pair took seats near Halvorsen and his friend, but continued their yelling. Halvorsen said the man appeared enraged about something.
Halvorsen said he said something to the man like, “Could you please give us a little, here? I’m trying to talk with my friend.”
At that point, the man turned and punched him square in the nose, causing a good deal of pain and a lot of bleeding. The man got up and left, with the woman following after.
Halvorsen said he knew his nose was broken, and, having had some training regarding such things, he actually reset it himself while he was still somewhat numb, thinking it would be less painful that way.
Two library employees, Yumi See and Susan Righetti, came to Halvorsen’s assistance. They were like angels, he said, helping him deal with the pain and the blood after they called Idyllwild Fire Department.
Interviewed by the Town Crier, See and Righetti said the library’s surveillance cameras caught the incident, but they could not recognize the assailant. They said the man picked up a skateboard and walked off up the alleyway between the library and Fairway. The woman, they said, followed after him a bit later.
IFPD responded quickly, Halvorsen said, and they were surprised that he had reset his nose himself. They administered first aid and recommended they transport him to a hospital in Hemet, but Halverson demurred, saying he would care for his injuries himself.
Halvorsen describes his assailant as being a white male, perhaps in his early 30s, about 5-feet, 11-inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds. The woman he describes as also being in her early 30s, no more than 5 feet, 5 inches, small and thin. According to Halvorsen, the man and the woman both displayed bad facial complexions of the type seen on methamphetamine users.
The Idyllwilder said the man hit him with his right fist, but there was “no way” it was just bare. He said he saw rings on the man’s fingers, which accounts for some of the damage, but said the rings he saw could even have been from brass knuckles.
Since the attack, he said he’s experienced some pretty miserable pain from the injury, causing difficulty sleeping. When interviewed six days later, Halvorsen still displayed two blackened and yellowed eyes from the incident.
Halvorsen said although he’d earned a Karate brown belt in his youth, he didn’t have time to try to use any such skills. Since the attack, he carries pepper spray, but he questions how it could have helped him under the particular facts of this incident.
Halvorsen said Deputy Tully of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the scene in less than 40 minutes and took a report. When asked by the deputy, he responded that he indeed wanted to press charges in order to keep his assailant from injuring someone else. The Town Crier put in a call to the Sheriff’s public information officer, but had not heard back by press time. (SEE UPDATE, BELOW.)
Anyone with information regarding the attack on Halvorsen is asked to contact the Hemet Sheriff’s Station at 951-791-3400.
UPDATE, May 4, 2018: Because last week we learned of the assault only a few hours before deadline, we did not expect that the Sheriff’s PIO could call back with an update in time for last week’s paper.
Since then, Public Information Officer Deputy Robyn Flores has initiated contact with the Town Crier on three occasions regarding the assault investigation. As of this writing, no suspect is in custody, but Deputy Flores indicated that she will continue to keep the Town Crier informed of developments regarding this incident.