Two 19-year-old women walking in the Samuel Wiley Park area in the early morning hours of Friday, June 25, were attacked by a 41-year-old Cleveland woman, Samantha Lara, who has been arrested by Cleveland Police Department 10 times since October 2019.
The attack was reported to police around 5:45 a.m. by the victim, who called 911 while her friend kept the attacker at bay with pepper spray, said Capt. Scott Felts, a spokesperson for Cleveland Police Department.
“When police arrived, they detained the female, Samantha Lara. Officers called EMS to the scene to treat the victim who had lacerations to her arm and back. The investigation found that the two females were in the park area when Lara approached them and began to attack with a belt buckle that was still attached to a belt,” Felts said.
Originally, police were told that the assailant may have used a knife in the attack, and a knife was recovered from the scene. However, an independent witness told police that the victim was assaulted by Lara using the belt buckle, Felts said.
The victim was treated by EMS at the scene and then transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Her injuries were minor, according to Felts.
Police are still trying to determine if the assault was completely unprovoked, which is how it appears at the moment, and if the assailant suffers from mental or medical health issues.
Lara is charged with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon and is being held in the Cleveland City Jail until she can be transported to the county jail. Bond was set at $30,000.
Lara’s prior criminal charges since 2019 include multiple counts of Public Intoxication and one count each of Burglary of a Habitation, Possession of Marijuana and Disorderly Conduct-Fighting.