Transient bites off Venice restaurant owner's fingertip

VENICE, Calif. (KABC) -- A transient bit off part of a Venice restaurant owner's finger and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of aggravated mayhem.

Jonathan Lemmons, 31, was arrested Saturday outside the The Cow's End Cafe, located at 34 West Washington Blvd.

Restaurant owner Clabe Hartley alleges Lemmons had been harassing people for money and took a coffee from a customer's table and walked away with it. When he got in line at the restaurant, Hartley told Lemmons to leave.

Lemmons refused to leave and even threatened to kill him, Hartley said.

"He came at me and when he did that, he started swinging at me," Hartley said. "I stepped back to try and keep him at bay and we started struggling inside the doorway and went down on the sidewalk. I landed on top of him."

Hartley suspects it was during this fall that Lemmons bit off his finger. He didn't realize it was gone until someone told him he was bleeding.

"I never felt when he bit me. Maybe it was the adrenaline going, maybe it was fear of the moment, I don't know," Hartley said.

Four other customers came to assist Hartley and they managed to pin Lemmons down until Los Angeles police arrived.

Hartley, who suffered a broken wrist and ankle from a motorcycle several weeks ago, was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he received 40 stitches. His doctor was not able to reattach his finger.

The business owners in the area were planning a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Westside Global Awareness Magnet School at 104 Anchorage Street in Marina Del Rey to discuss security issues.

"In the last few years, it's gotten more violent," said Hartley, who's lived in the area for more than 45 years.

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