ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — A North County woman is recovering after a brutal assault outside an Encinitas bar.
As Brittany, 30, her boyfriend, and a friend went into 1st Street Bar late Wednesday evening, they noticed a commotion.
“There was a gentleman in the process of being kicked out. When he got kicked out, he was outside of the bar, banging on the windows,” said Lyndsey Norton, Brittany’s close friend.
Norton says the man left after a few minutes, and about 40 minutes later, so did Brittany's group.
‘The two gentlemen she was with — her boyfriend and their friend — walked out of the bar first, and Brittany was last one to walk out of the bar,” said Norton.
Norton says after they crossed the street, Brittany heard something.
“She remembers hearing the footsteps, and then she said she woke up in the hospital,” said Norton.
Norton says according to witnesses, the man at the center of the scene at the bar — someone Brittany did not know — ran up and punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground.
“At that point, her boyfriend and their friend heard something going on, so they turned around. He was kicking her in the face,” said Norton.
Norton says the man took off, and Brittany's boyfriend ran after him, detaining him until deputies arrived.
Brittany suffered a concussion, ruptured eardrum, broken nose and fractured eye socket.
“She had to have surgery on her nose and on her orbital bone. They had to put an implant in to stabilize her eye socket,” said Norton.
Norton says Brittany is trying to stay positive, but filled with questions.
“‘I don’t know why would he do this to me.’ … She’s just so sad and confused about it,” said Norton.
Brittany, who recently got a job as a line cook at a high-end restaurant, now has to put her dreams of becoming a chef on pause.
Meanwhile, Brittany hopes the telling of her story will help keep others safe.
"It’s scary … Have a have a buddy system. Just have to be heightened awareness with everything that’s going on. We’re all on high alert,” said Norton.
The suspect, Justin Heinrich, 35, is scheduled to be arraigned on a felony battery charge in the next few days.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Brittany with expenses.