One man was recovering from injuries on Tuesday after he was violently assaulted on a Malibu beach in the middle of the day on Sunday, Aug. 29.
Two suspects were in sheriff’s department custody as of Sunday night following the incident, which occurred on Dan Blocker Beach in Malibu.
The victim, a visitor from out of town, was reportedly eating lunch on the beach with his family—three adults and two children—a little before noon when two men approached them, allegedly claiming the beach was their territory. After a brief verbal altercation, one of the men, later identified as Richard Franck, produced a machete and began attacking the victim, who received lacerations to his upper torso and hand, the LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) described.
The suspects then chased the victims—reportedly from the beach up to the area of the Dan Blocker Beach parking lot, near Pacific Coast Highway just south of Corral Canyon Road.
Franck and his accomplice, identified as Benjamin Mast, were charged by the LA County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Franck was charged with attempted murder, mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon; Mast was charged with accessory to attempted murder.
On Wednesday, the LA County District Attorney's office shared the charges against Franck, including gruesome details about the attack. According to the charges, Franck's machete assault resulted in disfigurement of the victim including cutting and disabling his tongue, removing his eye and slitting his nose, ear and lip: "On or about August 29, 2021, in the County of Los Angeles, the crime of MAYHEM, in violation of PENAL CODE SECTION 203, a Felony, was committed by RICHARD FRANCK, who did unlawfully and maliciously deprive [the victim] of a member of the body and did disable, disfigure and render it useless and did cut and disable the tongue, and put out an eye and slit the nose, ear and lip of said person."
The arrests occurred after a brief stand-off at the Dan Blocker Beach parking lot, according to LASD Lt. Jim Braden, Malibu’s liaison to the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. Braden was on scene when the suspects were apprehended.
“They’d locked themselves in the restroom area,” Braden described in a phone interview.
The lieutenant said that about 15 to 20 personnel from the Malibu/Lost Hills Station were on scene, with special units ready to be called in if the barricade situation was not resolved. Braden called it a “robust response” of both regular deputies and members of the sheriff’s beach team.
“After we had enough units there and everything, they did some call-outs and [the suspects] ended up coming out during the call-outs, so they were taken into custody at that time,” Braden said. The weapon was then located. “Through different statements from the suspect and the accomplice, the weapon was located stashed in some bushes down by the beach.”
Both suspects were described as “transients” and both were males in their mid-30s. No further description was available.
“We were shocked to hear of this vicious, unprovoked attack on innocent visitors who came to Malibu for a peaceful day of fishing at one of our local beaches, and we send our thoughts and best wishes for a full recovery to the victims and their families,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said in a statement provided by the City of Malibu. “On behalf of the city council, I want to thank our local sheriff’s deputies for their quick response to remove the suspects before they could harm anyone else.”
This story was updated on Sept. 4 to include a quote from the DA's charges against the suspect detailing alleged injuries.