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Complex portrait emerges of new suspects in Bryan Stow beating [Updated]

July 22, 2011 | 12:22 pm


Dueling portraits emerged Friday of the two men arrested in connection with the brutal beating of a baseball fan at Dodger stadium as court records reveal criminal pasts and neighbors described the men as friendly, baseball-loving fathers.

The men are Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, who were taken into custody Thursday morning in raids on two Inland Empire locations. Both are being held on suspicion of committing mayhem and remained in custody Friday morning in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to police records.

A third suspect in the case, Dorene Sanchez, also was arrested Thursday on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact to a felony, police records show. A neighbor and a relative of Norwood’s said Dorene Sanchez, 31, is the sister of Louie Sanchez and either the wife or longtime partner of Norwood. She was taken into custody at the same Rialto home that Louie Sanchez gave authorities as his residence.

It is unknown whether police believe Dorene Sanchez is the woman witnesses saw driving the two suspected assailants away from the stadium after the attack. She was released from custody early Friday morning after posting $50,000 bail, records show, and did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Los Angeles Police Department has not commented on the arrests, and it’s unclear what evidence detectives have gathered against the suspects.

Norwood, according to arrest records, stands 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs 250 pounds, roughly matching the description witnesses gave police of one of the attackers.

Records show Louie Sanchez is 5 feet, 11 inches and weighs 175 pounds, measurements which also are close to the description witnesses gave of the second assailant. [Updated at 12:31 p.m.: Fontana Police described Sanchez as having neck tattoos when he was arrested for drunk driving in 2005, according to court records. The LAPD has described one of the assailants in the Stow attack as having possible tattoos on his neck.]

The arrest of the trio marked a dramatic turn of events in the investigation into the beating on opening day in the stadium parking lot, which left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow with brain damage. The attack has garnered national attention and placed intense pressure on the LAPD, city officials and the Dodger organization to calm fears of violence and lawlessness among fans.

In May, police took another man, Giovanni Ramirez, into custody and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck described him repeatedly as the prime suspect in the case. The investigation into Ramirez, however, stalled almost immediately as detectives scoured mobile phone records, thousands of images from surveillance camera footage, financial records and hundreds of other possible links and tips, but failed to link him to the beating.

Without any hard evidence, prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against Ramirez. Instead, police held him in custody for violating the terms of his parole from a previous conviction. Last month, Ramirez was sentenced to 10 months in prison for the violation.

Stow, a father of two, was walking through the Dodger Stadium parking lot with two friends after the Dodgers’ opening-day victory over the Giants when he was attacked.

Stow, who lives in Santa Cruz and works as a paramedic, was wearing Giants apparel and was taunted by the two men, police have said. 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. After appearing to make progress in recent weeks, Stow’s condition took a turn for the worse this week when he suffered seizures and underwent emergency surgery.

Norwood and Dorene Sanchez live in a brown stucco, two-story home on a quiet Rialto cul-de-sac. Louie Sanchez lives six houses down with his parents, according to neighbors.

Neighbors said that heavily armed LAPD officers swarmed the street on Thursday morning, outfitted in black bullet-proof vests and helmets. The officers rushed toward the Sanchez home with a battering ram, but a woman inside opened the door for them, neighbors said.

Police searched the homes and vehicles, and towed a truck that neighbors said belonged to Norwood.

Detectives then went door-to-door asking neighbors whether the suspects ever had displayed Dodger banners or other paraphernalia at their homes or on their cars, and whether they had bragged about the stadium attack, neighbors said. Marie Love, 43, said police asked her: “Did you hear any bragging? Did anyone hear any bragging, anything like that?”

She said she had not heard any such talk and was shocked that Norwood and Sanchez would be arrested. They were known as family men who often played baseball with their children on a small patch of grass in front of Love’s home.

Love said that Norwood and Dorene Sanchez live with three children, including a toddler and two older children, between 9 and 11 years old. Louie Sanchez’ son, she said, is about 9 or 10 years old, and visits his father on weekends.

Witnesses to the beating reported seeing a child about 10 years old in the car in which the two assailants fled after the attack. A law enforcement source with knowledge of the case, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said a child has provided authorities with information about the attack.

Love described Louie Sanchez as laid-back and friendly, saying he organized events for single parents in the neighborhood to get their children together and enjoyed putting on July 4 fireworks shows for the youngsters. “I really hate this because he’s a great guy,” Love said. “I’ve known them for a real long time. That’s a good family there. For this to happen is a shock …. I’m willing to believe that they arrested the wrong guy a second time.”

Both men have violent pasts. In March 2006, Norwood was convicted of inflicting bodily injury on a spouse or partner, court records show. Three years earlier, Louie Sanchez was found guilty of the same crime and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to court records.  In 2004, Sanchez was convicted of carrying a loaded firearm, while Norwood was found guilty of disturbing the peace in 2000, the records show.

A woman briefly opened the door at Louie Sanchez’s home on Friday morning. “He doesn’t live here,” she told a Times reporter, before closing the door. No one answered the door at Norwood’s home.

Norwood’s mother, Diana Page, said in a brief interview Thursday evening that she did not know why her son was in custody but had learned about his arrest from a friend of her son’s. Norwood, a construction worker, is a Dodgers baseball fan but she said she did not know whether he was involved in the assault on Stow.

“I don’t know the last time he was at a game,” she said.


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Photo: Bryan Stow with his children. Credit: Reuters