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LA woman suffers brain injury after homeless man stabs her with garden shears in head

A 24-year-old Los Angeles woman is recovering from a traumatic brain injury after a homeless man stabbed her in the head with a pair of gardening shears in an unprovoked attack, authorities said.

Kyli Watts was walking along Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 10 when the grisly assault took place, according to news station KTLA.

The suspected stabber, 30-year-old Johnathan Cole, rammed a pair of gardening shears with 4-inch blades into the back of Watts’ head as they passed while walking down the street, police said.

Watts ran to a nearby restaurant with the weapon still embedded in her skull and begged for help before collapsing.

Staff at the restaurant were able to call 911 and Watts was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Los Angeles Police Department
Surveillance photo of the attack taking place from afar
Watts was randomly attacked while walking in broad daylight in North Hollywood.
Los Angeles Police Department

After the attack, she immediately called her mother, a psychiatric nurse in North Carolina.

Despite the horrific nature of the crime, her mother said she understood what happened to her daughter was a “social and systemic failure,” and that more needs to be done to help those living on the streets who are struggling with mental illness.

Her mother, Amy Watts, said they’d been a foster family for 15 years, and had experience taking care of people suffering from severe mental illnesses.

“She understands this is a very sick person,” her mother said.

Kyli Watts (left) and her mother Amy Watts (right).
Kyli Watts (left) and her mother, Amy Watts.
Facebook / Amy Watts
Amy Watts speaks to KTLA after the attack.
Amy Watts speaks to KTLA after the attack.

“This is a problem that we as a society have to look at and figure out what’s next,” she said. “Because this is just going to continue to get worse.”

Watts underwent surgery for a traumatic brain injury and remains in the hospital. She faces a difficult road to recovery, and will likely face more long-term issues with her balance and vision as a result.

Kyli Watts
Kyli reportedly lost her health insurance just before the random daytime attack.
Facebook / Amy Watts

On top of the brutal attack, Watts was just laid off from her job in tech recruiting, for which she moved to Los Angeles a matter of weeks ago, and currently has no health insurance, according to a GoFundMe set up on her behalf.

According to the fundraiser, Watts will likely remain in the hospital for the next two weeks.

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