Hemet fire extinguisher attack leaves 1 critical, 1 arrested

HEMET — One man is clinging to life and another is behind bars after a brutal fire extinguisher attack outside a Hemet business Monday morning, March 11. The violent confrontation, which happened in front of Pam’s Donuts & Ice Cream in the 100 block of E Stetson Ave., left the victim with serious head trauma and he remains hospitalized in critical condition, according to officials.


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City of Hemet Police and Fire Departments, along with AMR other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the popular donut shop around 5:30 a.m., after receiving reports of a victim being beaten in the head with a fire extinguisher, Hemet Police Lt. Jeff Davis later explained.

911 callers reported that after the brutal attack the suspect fled the area, but was being followed by a person who witnessed the attack.

When officials arrived they found a 30 year-old victim down on the ground. The man was unconscious and suffering from major head trauma. The victim was rushed to a hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to Davis.

With help from the witness who was following the suspect, officers soon located Joseph Thomas Anzelmo, a 19-year-old Hemet resident. He was apprehended and detained without incident.

Although no details have been released as to what may have led to the violent confrontation, investigating officers learned Anzelmo used a large and heavy fire extinguisher to beat the victim over the head before taking the unconscious man’s belongings and fleeing from the area.

Thanks to the witness who guided officers to Anzelmo’s location, the man was quickly located.

Joseph Anzelmo was arrested after beating a man in the head with a fire extinguisher. Hemet PD photo

Based on their investigation, officers arrested Anzelmo and he was booked into Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder and robbery. Jail records indicate he remains in custody in lieu of $1 million and is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court tomorrow, March 14.

As Hemet PD’s investigation was continuing, an employee from the donut shop could be seen cleaning up medical debris left at the scene by fire and rescue personnel and washing pools of blood from the sidewalk just outside the shop’s entrance.

Hemet PD’s investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this investigation or who witnessed the attack is encouraged to immediately contact City of Hemet Police Investigator M. Gomez at (951) 765-2422. Callers can refer to incident file number 19-2187 and can remain anonymous.

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Eddie George/Hemet News photos

Gary Rainwater photos

Gary Rainwater video

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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