Suspect in Bryan Stow beating may have tried to conceal identity with new tattoos [Updated]
Following a morning raid and several hours of questioning, LAPD detectives on Sunday afternoon formally arrested a man on suspicion of being one of the two assailants in the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium.
[Update, 5:46 p.m.: LAPD officials publicly identified the suspect as 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez. Ramirez was booked on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $1-million bail.]
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, speaking at a news conference, declined to name the suspect, saying his identity will be made public when he is booked Sunday evening.
Several police sources confirmed the identity of suspect to the Los Angeles Times. The Times is not identifying the 31-year-old man at the request of senior Los Angeles Police Department officials, who said it could compromise a fast-moving search for the second assailant and the woman who drove the men away from the stadium.
The suspect in custody has at least three prior convictions, a source close to the investigation said. He was convicted of attempted robbery in 1998, robbery in 1999, and firing a weapon in a public place in 2005, according to the source.
The trail that led police to the suspect hinged on a set of fresh tattoos on the man's neck, said the source, who asked that his name not be used because of the ongoing investigation.
Police were tipped off to the man's possible involvement by his parole agent, law enforcement sources said. The police source said the suspect had attended a meeting with his parole agent shortly after the attack, and the agent noticed that the suspect resembled a police sketch of one of the assailants.
Things fell into place last week when another parolee was detained as a possible suspect in the beating, according to the source. Detectives determined that that man had not been involved in the attack, but the detention led several parole agents to discuss the case amongst themselves. One of them voiced his suspicion that a different parolee under his supervision might be involved, the source said. It is unclear whether the parole agent had passed on his suspicions to police immediately after he met with the suspect and was simply reiterating them last week or whether he had neglected to say something after the meeting.
Regardless, the parole agent called the parolee back in for another meeting last week. When he arrived, the agent noticed that the parolee had recently added several tattoos which covered most of his neck, the source said. That led authorities to suspect that the man was trying to cover up an older tattoo on his neck that witnesses had described to police.
After the meeting, detectives showed photo lineups that included the suspect to three witnesses. All three identified the man as one of the attackers, the source said.
While detectives continued to pull together their case, a surveillance team tailed the suspect throughout the weekend until 7 a.m. Sunday, when SWAT officers descended on the apartment building on Mariposa Avenue where the man had been staying in recent weeks. Using loudspeakers and with guns drawn, officers called out to the occupants of apartment 25, said the building’s manager, Maritza Camacho.
Stow, 42, a father of two, was walking through the Dodger Stadium parking lot with two friends after the Dodgers’ opening-day victory over San Francisco when he was brutally assaulted. Stow, who lives in Santa Cruz and worked as a paramedic in Santa Clara, was wearing Giants apparel, police said, and two young men began taunting him. One of the assailants blindsided Stow with blows to the back and head, police said.
The two assailants repeatedly kicked and punched Stow while he was on the ground. Stow's friends attempted to help and were also punched and kicked before the attackers fled in a car driven by a woman wearing an Andre Ethier jersey. Police said it appeared there also was a 10-year-old boy in the car.
The incident drew intense scrutiny from around the world on the beleaguered Dodgers organization -- which has struggled to deal with a segment of its fan base that police say is dominated by gang members -- and spurred an intense hunt for the attackers.
Working off of hundreds of tips from anonymous callers, police chased leads that resulted in dead ends. Several potential suspects have been questioned and released after police determined they were not involved.
As more time passed without an arrest, the reward fund grew to more than $200,000 and the suspects' sketches were plastered on about 200 billboards around the L.A. area.
-- Joel Rubin
Photo: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium to discuss how a tip led police to an early-morning raid to net a suspect in the Dodger Stadium beating. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times