A Canyon Country man who residents say terrorized the American Beauty condo complex is awaiting a hearing for an assault with a deadly weapon charge next week.
Alejandro Christian Martinez, 22, of Canyon Country, is accused of assault with a deadly weapon and a parole violation for a vandalism charge, officials said Monday
On Dec. 11, Martinez was approached by a neighbor who lived in the complex and confronted Martinez because Martinez allegedly was smoking marijuana next to a playground for the condos, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Martinez, who was on parole for a felony vandalism conviction, immediately became combative and challenged the victim to a fight, according to a Sheriff’s Station report.
The victim called 911, and Martinez allegedly pulled out a knife and lunged at the victim. The victim was not hurt, and the suspect ran away.
Deputies set up a containment of the area and searched for several hours with the help of a helicopter patrol unit, but they were unable to locate a suspect that night.
A deputy who was patrolling the area around the condo complex five days later saw Martinez in the parking lot and was able to identify him as the suspect in the assault.
Prosecutors charged Martinez with assault Dec. 18, and he pleaded not guilty.
He’s due back in court Jan. 14 to face a preliminary hearing on the assault charge and a parole violation. Martinez pleaded no contest to graffiti vandalism causing more than $400 damage in September 2013, and he was sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years probation.
He’s being held without bail due to the alleged parole violation.
The apartment complex and the surrounding neighborhood, which is where the only murder within city limits in 2014 occurred, has been troubled by crime reports in the last few years, according to a few of the suspect’s neighbors.
A resident named Anthony who lives in the complex and asked to not have his last name published, said he expressed concern about the area’s security to management several times regarding residents having access to all gates in the complex through “skeleton keys.”
The sprawling condominium complex covers about 36 acres, which includes more than 740 units and 3,000 residents.
Scott Robinson, president of Exclusive Property Service, said the complex takes all crime concerns from property owners “very seriously.”
“Security is a concern of the board and the homeowners association, and it’s considered throughout the year,” Robinson said, “and changes are made throughout the year.”
Security is the first and foremost concern, he said, adding management was looking into the logistics and feasibility of changing their security measures with respect to their lock-and-key system.
He also expressed gratitude for the increased support from Sheriff’s Station deputies.
“Since February of last year, the Sheriff’s Department has been extremely instrumental in addressing the concerns of the association, moreso than I’ve ever seen in my time with the association,” he said. “The support is welcome.”
He acknowledged the residents’ concerns, and added that in addition to working to address issues as they arrive, the complex has its own security company that provides a sentry guard as a “deterrent” and armed patrols.
Sheriff’s officials confirmed Wednesday there have been numerous calls regarding theft and drug use in and around the complex.
Residents said they appreciate increased patrols from deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, but suspect there’s still illegal activity occurring in and around the complex.
Deputy Chris Craft, a Sheriff’s Station zone leader who analyzes crime reports from the Canyon Country – East area — which includes the complex — said he communicates regularly with residents to address crime issues.
“There has been an increase in patrols in that area due to residents’ concerns,” Craft said Wednesday.
He encouraged any residents of the area who might have concerns to contact him at the Sheriff’s Station by calling 661-255-1121 ext. 4283.