Police said the altercation began at a pay station inside a Santa Monica parking garage Saturday night.
Edgar Khodzhasaryan and Arsen Bekverdyan sat in one vehicle. Behind them, Antonio Foreman — a bodyguard for an alt-right figure with ties to the Oath Keepers — sat in another. At some point, as the men attempted to exit the garage, an argument began, which was followed by “a minor traffic collision,” a Santa Monica Police Department spokesman said.
The vehicles continued down the street near each other until Foreman’s vehicle stopped abruptly in front of the other vehicle, police said.
“The victim and suspects exited their vehicles and confront[ed] each other in the roadway,” police said. “One of the suspects stabbed the victim and a fight ensued during which the victim [was] stabbed multiple times. The suspects returned to their vehicle and fled the location.”
Just after 11 p.m., police discovered Foreman lying on the sidewalk. He was rushed to a hospital for treatment and remains in stable condition, police said.
Antonio "Tony" Foreman is one of my best friends, he's a fellow Trump supporter & an Oathkeeper. Stabbed 9 times & needs prayer. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/uDGojfTmgQ
— Baked Alaska™ (@bakedalaska) June 20, 2017
Minutes later, about 11:23 p.m., police received a report that suspects involved in the stabbing may be at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. Police found the suspects’ vehicle in an Emergency Room parking area and located Khodzhasaryan, 30, of Glendale, and Bekverdyan, 31, of Burbank, at the hospital.
Both men have been accused of attempted murder and remain in custody on $1 million bail, Lt. Saul Rodriguez, a Santa Monica police spokesman, told The Washington Post. Information about each man’s legal representation was not immediately available, and there have been no public comments from either man or an attorney.
Police declined to release Foreman’s name and offered an account that included no details to suggest that the attack was motivated by the victim’s connections to the alt-right. Rodriguez said police have no reason to think at this point that the stabbing was a hate crime.
But Tim Gionet — a well-known alt-right figure who is known as Baked Alaska on Twitter and calls Foreman one of his best friends — suggested on social media that Foreman’s race played a role in the attack. He also said that Foreman was leaving a “Trump event” when the incident occurred and that he was stabbed nine times.
Tony was stabbed 9 times in LA by a pack of dudes shortly after leaving a Trump event & they were screaming calling him white boy & cracker https://t.co/8aHkNNxfPO
— Baked Alaska™ (@bakedalaska) June 20, 2017
According to the Los Angeles Times, Foreman sometimes works for the alt-right figure as his bodyguard. At the time of the attack, Foreman was not working as a bodyguard — he was alone, police said.
Foreman has no health insurance, and a crowdfunding effort to help him pay for his medical bills has raised more than $8,000. The page says its goal is to raise $150,000.
Despite police claims to the contrary, the page says Foreman is the victim of an “anti-white hate crime.” Police did not identify the suspects’ race.
“Anti-Trump and anti-white violence is escalating in the United States of America,” the page says. “From eggs, to fists, to bike locks, and now knives, everyday Trump supporters seem to be in real danger in their own country.”
The page adds: “Tony Foreman needs our help. Let’s give it to him.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Foreman is a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. The national group presents itself as nonpartisan, but its concerns have echoed conspiratorial warnings about “rigged” elections and the alleged threat posed by the New Black Panther Party that are often found on the far-right fringes of the Web.
The Oath Keepers did not respond to a request for comment about Foreman’s association with the group.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors anti-government groups nationwide, calls the Oath Keepers “one of the largest radical anti-government groups” in the country.
In April, Business Insider described Gionet — a former BuzzFeed employee — as a 29-year-old Internet troll who used to consider himself a libertarian before switching his allegiance to President Trump after becoming fed up with political correctness run amok.
“BuzzFeed turned me into a monster,” he told Business Insider, recalling the moment he decided he wasn’t among his kind. “I was talking about the new Justin Bieber album. And I was like, ‘Dude, that new Justin Bieber album is dope. I have to admit, I love Justin Bieber. He is totally my spirit animal.’ And someone came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, bro, you can’t say spirit animal, that’s culturally appropriating Native American culture and that’s not cool.’ ”
“I was like, ‘What? What the f— are you talking about?’ ” he added. “I had heard … about the dangers of political correctness, but I thought this was just exaggerated,” Gionet said. “I thought there was no way people in real life could be like this.”