Los Angeles police have taken into custody a man who they believe is “the primary aggressor” in the brutal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow.
Armed with a search warrant, a Los Angeles Police Department swat team swarmed an East Hollywood apartment building at about 7 a.m. Sunday morning and took the 31-year-old man into custody while detaining others for questioning there and in a separate raid upon a home.
The Los Angeles Police Department identified the suspect as Giovanni Ramirez, and said he was booked for assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held on $1 million bail.
At an afternoon press conference, L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck said police were looking for the suspect’s alleged accomplice, as well as for a woman believed to have driven the get-away car.
In the meantime, police are looking for the other assailant, as well as for a woman who is believed to have driven the getaway car.
“We are working vigorously to apprehend the individuals that are outstanding,” Beck said. “Things went well with the warrants served this morning, but they don’t always, so we think it’s in their best interest to turn themselves in.”
Beck released few other details about the mammoth investigation, which involved 20 department detectives, 6,000 hours of police work and which he described as still ongoing. He promised to reveal more details once the other suspects have been apprehended.
“This job is only half done and I have to complete it, so I beg your indulgence,” Beck said.
After police created a reward for information leading to the assailants’ arrest that grew to more than $200,000, police received 650 separate tips. The suspect’s apprehension followed a tip from a parole agent who contacted police and said he feared that one of the parolees he supervised was one of the attackers.
The man detained resembled one of the two men in police sketches that have been widely disseminated by the media, and is featured on 300 billboards in the Los Angeles area.
“Suspect number one on the flier, with the mark under the eye, this is suspect number one,” Beck said at the press conference. “And probably, we believe to be, the primary aggressor.”
Stow has been hospitalized with brain damage since March 31, when two men attacked him from behind and fractured his skull in a dark Dodger Stadium parking lot after the first game of the baseball season.
The father of two, who lives in Santa Cruz and works as a paramedic in Santa Clara, remains in a coma and is in critical condition. He is gradually making progress and recently opened his eyes for the first time since the beating. He recently was transferred from Los Angeles to San Francisco General Hospital to be closer to his family.
Stow's sister said police called her family Sunday morning to inform them about the search warrants.
"I can't even tell you the emotions that we're going through right now," Bonnie Stow told KABC-TV, occasionally choking back tears. "To be excited is the least we can say."
Giants team officials released a statement commending Los Angeles police and thanking "the community for its tremendous support for the Stow family during this difficult time."
Giants fans will be happy to note that the beating and the ongoing ownership battle between Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball has evidently taken its toll on Dodgers’ ticket sales. Attendance at Wednesday’s Giants-Dodgers series, the first rematch of the two teams since the opening series, plummeted to its lowest level for a game between the two arch-rivals since June 4, 1997, the paper reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.