SANTA MONICA—Sara Christine Rizo, 40, of Redondo Beach entered a no contest plea on Thursday, March 10 for attacking female tourist Barbara Lowy while she was sitting with her family at The Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf at the 200 Block of Santa Monica Boulevard.

According to a press release from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, the incident occurred on June 9, 2015, at the facility on 2nd Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.

Rizo started screaming obscenities after entering the coffee shop. She later grabbed the customer by her hair and yanked it backwards, which resulted in the victim falling to the floor. She suffered a fractured vertebrae in her neck. The defendant entered the plea to one count of felony assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.

Sara Christine Rizo. Photo courtesy of the SMPD.
Sara Christine Rizo. Photo courtesy of the SMPD.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham of the Airport Branch immediately sentenced Rizo to 494 days in county jail county jail, already served, five years formal probation and one year of residential psychiatric treatment. She is also prevented from entering any coffee houses and has to pay $9,500 in restitution to the victim.

She issued a threat to Lowy before Lowy’s husband punched her in an effort to get her to let go of his wife.  Lowy described the incident on her Facebook page stating: “She grabbed the top, back of my hair from behind me, pulled my head and neck back and swung me around and threw me to the ground…She also said, once I was on the ground, that she was going to shoot me with a machine gun or she was coming back to shoot me with a machine gun. Either way, those were not comforting words as she was behind me.”

The case was investigated by the Santa Monica Police Department.