Despite restraining order, man allegedly attacks ex with sword

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - A day after a restraining order was issued, a man, on probation for threatening to make his child motherless, allegedly attacked his estranged girlfriend with a 24-inch sword, leaving her fighting for her life in a Reno hospital.

Steven Jared Wasserman is charged with five felonies including attempted murder, authorities said.

Susan Patricia Rizk, 37, was flown to Washoe Medical Center in Reno from Barton Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries to her head, stomach and legs after the Tuesday morning incident, said officer Chuck Owens.

She is on life support, he said.

Wasserman, Rizk's ex-boyfriend and father of her 4-year-old daughter, kicked open the door of her apartment at 911 San Francisco Ave. She called 911 at 8:15 a.m. and the first police officer arrived on scene within 90 seconds of the call.

"They found Wasserman standing over (Rizk) and he was in possession of the sword," Owens said. "The child was in the bedroom at the time. Obviously officers could see multiple lacerations on the victim. The child was covered in blood but was not injured."

Wasserman, a construction subcontractor, was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for a cut on his leg, Owens said. He was booked into El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, child cruelty, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or inhabitant and first-degree burglary. He was also charged with misdemeanor suspicion of violating a restraining order.

He was listed at no bail.

Wasserman and Rizk had a tumultuous relationship since meeting in September 2000, according to records at El Dorado County Superior Court.

They were never married but they lived together sporadically. At different times both had restraining orders against them prompted by each other.

The most recent restraining order was approved Monday morning during a hearing in family law court by Commissioner Neil Shephard.

Three names were protected in the order, including Rizk and the pair's daughter.

Another order approved this month by El Dorado County Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury restricted Wasserman from coming within 100 yards of Rizk and their daughter. It stated Wasserman must stay away from her apartment at San Francisco Avenue and from Kindertown Preschool.

In May 2004, Wasserman pleaded no contest to making criminal threats against Rizk. He was sentenced to three years probation and 15 consecutive anger management counseling sessions. He completed the counseling at the South Lake Tahoe Women's Center and was complimented for his attendance and payments.

Before his plea, an El Dorado County probation officer interviewed both Wasserman and Rizk to determine whether Wasserman's $100,000 bail at the time should be lowered.

The officer's report stated Wasserman made threats to "make their daughter an orphan." It concluded by recommending bail not be lowered.

"There is concern regarding the mental stability of (Wasserman) due to the threats made" by him, it stated.

In January, Wasserman pleaded no contest to force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery and burglary after he and another man entered a house. He received 30 days in jail and three years probation.

In a family law court file, an official with the El Dorado County Psychiatric Health Facility assessed Wasserman was bipolar and prescribed medication for the disorder.

Owens said police responded to a domestic violence call regarding the couple in March 2003 at a different address.

Wasserman's arraignment, where he will be read the charges filed against him by the district attorney's office and enter a plea, is expected either today or tomorrow.

n Contact reporter William Ferchland at


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