Competing narratives have emerged after a "pro-Trump activist" and "bodyguard" to popular alt-right personality "Baked Alaska" (Tim Gionet) was stabbed nine times after a pro-free speech event in Santa Monica on Saturday night. While the victim, Antonio Foreman, was being treated in the hospital for serious wounds, two men were arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Two diverging accounts of what prompted the near-fatal confrontation have begun to circulate, with Foreman's friends and allies on the right saying the two men, who were Armenian, attacked him for his conservative political beliefs and hurled racial slurs at him, while the Los Angeles Times reports that local police have dismissed the idea of the attack being a "hate crime," and believe Foreman may have "made a comment to the suspects which led to an argument."
Here are the details that are not in dispute: Foreman is an "avid Trump supporter" and member of Oath Keepers who has worked with alt-right personality "Baked Alaska" (a former BuzzFeed employee) as "security detail" and participated in events with alt-right icon "Based Stickman" (Kyle Chapman), who was at the event over the weekend as well.
Around 11 p.m. on Saturday, Foreman was stabbed nine times in a parking structure in Santa Monica by two men: Edgar Khodzhafaryan, 30, and Arsen Bekverdyan, 31, who were later arrested for attempted murder. Foreman was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in critical condition and has undergone multiple surgeries, his condition appearing to have stabilized.
Here's how the Gateway Pundit describes the sequence of events leading to the stabbing:
27-year-old Antonio “Tony” Foreman had just left a free speech rally in California alongside a slew of other well-known Trump supporters such as Kyle Chapman (“Based Sick Man“). Afterward, they headed to a local bar to relax. After a few hours at the bar, the group — many dawning Trump hats and supportive bumper stickers on their vehicles — decided to retire for the night. That is when things took a turn for the worse.
As Tony approached his vehicle, another car rammed through the parking gate vehicle barrier into the lot, directly smashing into Tony’s car. The Armenians exited their car, and reportedly were initially receptive to exchanging insurance information. They walked the length of Mr. Foreman’s car and noticed multiple “pro-patriot stickers” including a “Gadsden flag, an American flag, and multiple other patriotic and pro-Republican stickers” on his bumper and back window. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
After noticing these stickers, the Armenian gang member is reported to have walked back to his car before re-approaching Mr. Foreman. The car’s other passengers stepped out of the vehicle wielding knives. Within in a matter of minutes, Mr. Foreman was stabbed nine times right before one of the gang members screamed, “I’m going to shank you whiteboy!”
The Santa Monica police, when asked for comment, said, “There is no reason to believe that this was pre-meditated, but it was a racially charged attack."
That account is echoed by another alt-right-sympathizing site, The Red Elephants, which notes that police "do not believe the attack was politically connected at this time," though, the site adds, it does appear to be "certainly racially motivated."
In a sharply diverging account of the stabbing, the L.A. Times, citing Santa Monica PD spokesman Lt. Saul Rodriguez, downplays the potential of political or racial motivation in the attack, unless it was initiated by Foreman.
“There’s nothing here that would lead us to believe it was targeted or a hate crime or anything like that,” Rodriguez said.
Edgar Khodzhafaryan, 30, and Arsen Bekverdyan, 31, were exiting the parking structure and attempting to call for a parking attendant to help them operate the gate when the victim “made a comment to the suspects which led to an argument,” according to Rodriguez.
All three men exited their vehicles and a fist fight erupted. The suspects fled a short time later, and the victim realized he had been stabbed, Rodriguez said. The victim, whom Rodriguez would not identify, was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.
The two suspects have been booked on suspicion of attempted murder, with Rodriguez noting that Khodzhafaryan is suspected of having violated his probation.
"Bekverdyan is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, and has a court appearance scheduled Tuesday, according to online jail records," the Times reports. "Bail information about Khodzhafaryan was not immediately available."