LOS ANGELES (KPIX) – Inglewood police confirmed Friday they have a suspect in custody for the assault of 49ers by Daniel Luna, an attack that took place in the SoFi Stadium parking lot prior to the kickoff of the NFC Championship Game between San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams.
Hours after he revealed investigators had surveillance video of assault, Inglewood Mayor James Butts told Los Angeles radio station KNX 1070 that a man was arrested at his Montebello home in connection with the attack.
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Butt told radio station the suspect was identified using the video showing the suspect’s car inside the stadium lot, and someone speaking with the suspect.
Inglewood police followed with an email Friday morning: “Yes our detectives took an individual into custody last night regarding this incident. There will be a statement made by officials regarding this incident later today. “
Luna, a 40-year-old restaurateur from Oakland, was found by stadium security workers Sunday afternoon lying unconscious in the parking lot shortly after kickoff of the game.
He was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where ER staff determined that he suffered injuries they believed to be from an assault, police said. He was placed in a medically-induced coma due to the severity of his injuries.
During a 6 pm Thursday press conference on the assault, authorities announced that there was surveillance video of the incident. It showed an altercation that led to pushing between Luna and another man who is now being called a suspect.
“IPD detectives have now located video which depicts Mr. Luna mingling with a group of other fans in the parking lot. The overwhelming majority of these fans were wearing red 49ers jerseys, ”Butts said. “There appears to have been an altercation and between Mr. Luna and a man who we now name as the suspect. ”
The mayor said 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 whole encounter lasted about five seconds, ending after one of the people involved was seen striking the other in the mouth.
“Mr. Luna fell to the ground, where he was later found by security personnel, who summoned paramedics, ”Butts continued. “The suspect was wearing a Rams jersey.”
Police said the surveillance video is not clear enough to recognize faces. Currently, police are not releasing it.
Meanwhile, Luna remained hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center Thursday night with facial fractures and brain swelling.
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Luna and his wife own Mistura, a Peruvian restaurant on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. The restaurant is closed indefinitely because Luna remains in a coma.
The question family and friends are asking is why and how the assault happened. Friends say there would be no reason to hurt Luna.
Logan Peters is a friend who works near Luna’s restaurant.
“I’m speechless. It’s heartbreaking. I could never have guessed it would happen to him or he would purposely do anything that would make something like that happen, ”said Peters.
49ers of Jesse Mendez who attended the game told KPIX he could sense tensions rising at the stage that made him concerned for his safety.
“You are basically in enemy territory,” said Mendez. “I told everybody when I walked back over to our group, I said, ‘From here on out nobody goes anywhere unless we have two or three people with us.’
It also raises concerns about security at the stage less than two weeks before the Super Bowl in less than two weeks.
The 49er released a statement saying, “What happened to Daniel Luna is reprehensible, and we strongly condemn all violence. We know local authorities are conducting a full investigation and we’re here to support them however we can. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mr. Luna, his family, friends, and the medical team providing him care. ”
The attack is similar to the 2011 beating of Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who was attacked outside Dodgers Stadium on Opening Day more than ten years ago. He survived, but has severe brain damage.
Peters noted what a kind and generous person Luna is.
“He would see us walking past and hand out couple of empanadas and offer them to us on our way to the bus stop,” said Logan Peters.
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SoFi Stadium is set to host Super Bowl LVI, featuring the Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, on February 13th.