Homeless street artist who has no arms arrested for stabbing passerby with pair of scissors

Jonathan Crenshaw, a well-known Miami Beach street artist who uses his feet to paint, grabbed a pair of scissors with his feet and allegedly stabbed a passerby

                            Homeless street artist who has no arms arrested for stabbing passerby with pair of scissors
(Source:Getty Images)

Jonathan Crenshaw is one of those people in South Beach you can't help but take a gander at. Any Miami resident who has strolled down Lincoln Road is probably familiar with Crenshaw, a homeless man with no arms who has spent years in South Beach painting colorful canvasses using just his feet. He's usually surrounded by several tourists who stop and stare at his masterful work in awe. That Crenshaw has no arms and paints solely using his feet probably has much to do with the attention he gets.

However, on Tuesday, just after midnight, one of these passersby was reportedly bleeding after Crenshaw grabbed a pair of scissors with his feet and stabbed him. According to law enforcement, the homeless man said that the victim, who is a resident of Chicago, punched him to instigate the fight. However, according to the victim, he was only asking for directions before Crenshaw abruptly attacked him.

And now, the local artist has been charged with "aggravated battery with a deadly weapon", according to the Miami Beach Police Department report on Crenshaw’s arrest early on Tuesday.

Having said that, Crenshaw, who weighs all of just 90 pounds, is no babe in the woods. While it is unclear as to when he arrived in Miami Beach, he has a long list of arrests dating back to 2008, right from trespassing and disorderly intoxication to battering police on multiple occasions.

Back in 2011, a writer for the Miami New Times did a profile on the artist. However, he was not so successful in getting direct answers about his history. Back then, Crenshaw said that he was born in Alabama but moved around time and again as a child. He even alleged that his mother used to feed him "rat poison" when he was young. Furthermore, he made wild claims to New Times that he impregnated many women, including pop star Gloria Estefan, who allegedly gave birth to 200 of his children, he says.

That said, he refused to go into detail about his condition, that left him with short limbs in place of fully developed arms.

The 46-year-old blamed city officials for repeatedly hassling him about getting permits to paint on the busy pedestrian mall, although it was the Lincoln Road-based Art Center/South Florida who gave him art supplies. According to Crenshaw, numerous tourists have bought his works, some even paying up to $60. His colorful mosaics are centered around a characteristic theme of eyes.

Having said that, it was clearly evident during the said interview that Crenshaw had a troubled mind. "Sometimes I wish I were dead," he told the reporter. "I'm not trying to kill myself or anything. But then I wouldn't have to suffer."

In the past, the talented street artist has been charged with violent crimes and has time-and-again clashed with law enforcement, according to court records. Since 2010, he has been charged at least four times for battery on firefighters, police, and city code inspectors. He was caught trashing a hotel lobby on camera back in 2011.

His most recent conviction was in 2014 for felony battery on a police officer. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail for the same. Court filings noted that Crenshaw's fingerprints couldn't be collected because he has no arms.

The latest incident happened after midnight on Monday. According to 22-year-old Cesar Coronado, he wanted to ask Crenshaw for directions after he and a female friend of his stopped at the Collin Avenue and 16th Street allegedly losing their way. But the 46-year-old, instead of helping the pair, stabbed Coronado twice in the arm, put the scissors back into his waistband and quickly scampered off, he says.

Law enforcement authorities found Crenshaw a few minutes later in a shopping and tourist area near South Beach. Upon being confronted, he told the deputies he pulled out the scissors to defend himself after "he was lying down and a guy came up and punched him in the head." 

Paramedics took Coronado to Mount Sinai Medical Center when police found him lying on the ground bleeding from his left arm.

However, Cindy Barrientos, the female accompanying Coronado, corroborated to his version of the story, leading to Crenshaw's arrest. He has now been charged with one count of aggravated battery, a second-degree felony, police said. They also said there were no indications that Crenshaw was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

The local talent was being held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami on a $7,500 bond. He has a court date on July 18.

Devon Frampton, his court-appointed attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment.