LOS ANGELES, Calif.–With one alleged suspect in custody, police will continue the search today for a man and a female believed to have been involved in the brutal assault of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on opening day.
Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles, was taken into custody by Los Angeles police at about 7:10 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of North Mariposa Avenue. He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon–the foot he used to kick his victim–and held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Two other suspects–a man sought for his involvement in the assault and a female thought to have been the getaway driver–remain at-large, police said.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a Sunday afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium that the suspect in custody is believed to have been the primary aggressor in the severe beating of 42-year-old Santa Clara paramedic Bryan Stow in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on March 31.
Asserting that the investigation remains at an early stage, the chief said the tip that resulted in this morning’s raid had been provided by a parole officer–one of more than 630 leads pursued by more than 20 LAPD detectives who, to date, have worked on the case for more than 6,000 hours, 1,000 of them costly overtime hours.
LAPD officers with guns drawn used a bullhorn at a three-story apartment building in eastern Hollywood at about 7 Sunday morning to order the occupants of one unit to come out.
Police also towed away a black Honda Civic from the apartment complex on Mariposa Avenue just south of an onramp to the Hollywood (101) Freeway in a rough neighborhood less than three miles from Dodger Stadium.
Police said that, in addition to the suspect, at least one potential witness was taken into custody based on a search warrant issued for an undisclosed location. The suspect and witness were brought to the Northeast Community Police Station in Atwater Village for questioning.
Witnesses to the raid told the Los Angeles Times that the man seized by police was bald and had tattoos on his neck, resembling a composite sketch of one of two men suspected in the assault on Stow, who was leaving the stadium wearing Giants garb.
The Times reported that Ramirez might have added several tattoos to cover up an older tattoo witnesses could have described to police.
“The attack on San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow shocked and saddened countless citizens across L.A. and beyond,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who joined Beck at the Dodger Stadium news conference.
“It touched the hearts of so many of us, and in the wake of this horrific tragedy, the City, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Dodger and Giants organizations worked closely together to find this individual, to ramp up security and to ensure the safety of all of our fans.”
Stow’s sister, Bonnie Stow, told ABC7 that Los Angeles police told her of the arrest shortly after it happened.
“I can’t even tell you the emotions that we are going through right now,” Bonnie Stow said.
In San Francisco, the Giants issued a statement thanking police for the welcome news and to “commend the Los Angeles Police Department for their hard work.”
At the Dodger Stadium news conference, Councilman Ed Reyes urged the two fugitive suspects in the case to turn themselves in.
“Save us a lot of grief and let’s end this. The woman who was driving, you need to give yourself in. The other coward that did this, you need to give yourself in,” he said.
Last week, Beck revealed that the woman driving the getaway car was wearing a Dodger jersey bearing Andre Ethier’s number 16.
“We’re hoping that this jogs somebody’s memory,” he said at the time.
The suspects were described as being between 18 and 25 years of age with shaved heads, thin mustaches, and one also had a small goatee. The second suspect had numerous tattoos on his neck.
Stow, 42, is showing signs of recovery at San Francisco General Hospital. He was flown there last week. His sister said Sunday he has stopped having seizures but has not regained consciousness, even though he is no longer in a coma.
Stow had been in a medically induced coma at County-USC Medical Center until he was transferred to a San Francisco hospital on Monday. He is still listed in critical condition.
Stow’s mother, Ann, said she had been confident of an arrest.
“They (the LAPD) were so compassionate with our family and reached out to us and made a promise that they were not going to rest until they got these guys,” she told KCBS radio in San Francisco.
“So that’s why I put it out of my mind. I didn’t think of it. I knew it was going to be taken care of, and obviously they did what they promised.”
Villaraigosa said he spoke to Ann Stow following Sunday’s raid. He called her “an absolute inspiration.”
“First and foremost, our thoughts today are with Bryan Stow and his family and we hope that this announcement brings them a small measure of relief in what has been an extremely difficult time in their lives,” McCourt said.
“On behalf of the Dodger organization and our fans, I want to extend our most sincere appreciation and ‘thank you’ to Chief Charlie Beck and the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” he said.
Last week, Beck said the Dodgers have donated an additional $100,000 to increase the reward in the case to $250,000. The Dodgers announced last month they had donated $25,000 to the reward fund.