HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last Friday, Gabrielle Bartlett was enjoying the sun and surf at Ala Moana Beach. She sat on her beach towel and planned to stay to watch the fireworks from the Hilton Hawaiian Village when she heard a distracting voice.
"I heard a man to the right of me off in the distance, saying profanity and not making a lot of sense," she said.
When she first looked, the man was standing about 10 feet away. When she glanced a second time he was standing right beside her.
"When I turned again, I just saw the man's leg. The next thing I recall is the lifeguard in front of me, feeling my face, and there being blood," she said.
Bartlett doesn't remember feeling the blow, but knew she passed out briefly.
Witnesses told police the man struck her in the face, then ran when she screamed. She was rushed to the hospital, suffering from multiple facial fractures.
"The bones in my nose are shattered. My maxillary bone is fractured and displaced as well. And my nasal septum is fractured," she said.
The suspect was described by Honolulu police officials on Friday as a male with a tan complexion, in his twenties or thirties, standing about 5'6" inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt and a multi-colored board shorts.
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Bartlett is a nurse and lives in Windward Oahu. She's shocked by how this happened to her in broad daylight at such a busy beach. She remembers other women seated not far from where she was.
"It really could have happened to anyone," she said. "I'm glad I'm alive to even tell my story. If the man would have continued to attack me, I don't think that I would be sitting here."
Police are investigating the assault, but the suspect still hasn't been found. She said he was dark-skinned and has brown hair.
"His face was sunken in as if he was a drug addict. He was wearing blue board shorts, no shirt," she said.
Bartlett needs surgery. She isn't sure long it will take to completely heal and much she'll have to pay in medical bills.
"I feel like I'm looking more like myself every day but I wonder after the reconstructive surgery am I going to look like my old self," she said.
Bartlett said she will eventually go back to Ala Moana beach because she refuses to live in fear.