INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) – A suspect has been arrested in connection with a violent assault outside SoFi Stadium during the NFC Title game last weekend which left a San Francisco 49ers fan in a coma.
"I was thankful that someone was hopefully being held responsible for this situation and hopefully justice will be served in that capacity," said Chancy Kirtdoll, a long-time friend of the victim.
In a news conference Friday, Inglewood Mayor James Butts identified the suspect as 33-year-old Bryan Cifuentes Alexis, a resident of Los Angeles. He is charged with one felony count of assault by means to produce great bodily injury.
He was arrested Thursday, but was released from jail early Friday morning on $30,000 bail.
Butts said Alexis was identified with the help of surveillance video from SoFi Stadium. A suspect car that was seen on security video in the stadium parking lot was traced by Inglewood police to its registered owner Thursday. The owner of the car was not a suspect.
"They (investigators) left contact information (with the owner) after indicating we were trying to locate an individual involved in a potential assault on Sunday at SoFi Stadium," Butts said.
Alexis then called investigators while he was at his place of work in Montebello, Butts said. Officers went to his work, and he voluntarily accompanied them back to Inglewood police headquarters, where he was interviewed and arrested.
The victim, 40-year-old Oakland resident Daniel Luna, who was wearing a 49ers jersey, was found injured in Parking Lot L of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood around 4 p.m. Sunday, about 30 minutes after the start of the Rams' 20-17 victory over the 49ers that advanced them to Super Bowl LVI.
"I think he would have to be provoked and I hope it didn't occur any other way because it's not his personality," said Kirtdoll.
Luna was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was placed in a medically induced coma with extensive injuries to his face and upper body. He remains in a coma Friday.
"His condition has not improved or degraded," Butts said.
In a previous news conference Thursday, Butts said that, upon review of surveillance footage, investigators determined Luna was mingling with a group of people primarily wearing red 49ers jerseys when he allegedly shoved a man wearing a Rams jersey from behind.
"The suspect then retaliated by pushing Mr. Luna from behind, and then struck (him) once in the mouth area," Butts said. "Luna then fell to the ground, where he was later found by security personnel who summoned paramedics."
The man who punched Luna was seen in the security footage interacting with the occupants of a vehicle following the altercation before he left the scene.
Butts said Friday that following the attack, some fans tried to help Luna.
"There were other fans in that group, and at least one person, in the short clip that I saw, which is only a minute-and-a-half, bent down and tried to turn him on his side," Butts said.
Former prosecutor Michele Hagan called the case a mess and said that Cifuentes could have a possibility of claiming self-defense.
"Self-defense is a possibility there's also whether or not there was intoxication," said Hagan. "It's a messy case because we have a blurry video and the mayor's opinion. We haven't seen the video so we really don't know who is the aggressor."
A family friend said that Luna traveled to Los Angeles and attended the game alone after other friends had canceled their plans to go with him. Luna is a chef and the owner of an Oakland restaurant called Mistura.
Butts deflected suggestions that the city and police delayed reports of Luna's assault, claiming instead that authorities only learned of a crime occurred after reviewing the security footage.
"To be blunt about it, it looked like a small altercation that went very bad from one punch and someone hitting their head on the ground," said Butts, a former Santa Monica Police Department chief and a deputy chief with the Inglewood Police Department.
SoFi Stadium officials issued a statement saying, "We are aware and saddened by the incident. Our thoughts are with Mr. Luna's friends and family during this difficult time. We are working with law enforcement officials in their investigation."
Former Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Horace Frank said authorities should have been more transparent about the circumstances around Luna's beating.
"You should have put out that information to the public because the perpetrator is a public safety hazard and a threat to the community," Frank, who oversaw major game operations, told the Los Angeles Times. "You want to get the persons responsible for this heinous attack into custody as soon as possible."
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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