Dodger Stadium beating suspect remains in custody

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2011 7:28 PM
Dodger Stadium beating suspect remains in custody

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 31-year-old ex-convict arrested in the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day remained in custody on Monday on a parole hold, prosecutors said.

Giovanni Ramirez was taken into custody early on Sunday morning in connection with the attack on Bryan Stow, a crime that touched off a furor in Los Angeles over a failure by team and city officials to provide adequate security at the stadium.

"The arrest of Giovanni Ramirez, the suspect in the Dodger Stadium beating, is under review by the District Attorney's Office," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

She said Ramirez, who has two prior felony convictions, remained in custody on a parole hold. He has not been charged in the case.

Police say they are still searching for two alleged accomplices in the March 31 beating of Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two who remains in critical condition at a San Francisco hospital.

"This investigation is at its very early stages," Police Chief Charlie Beck said in announcing the arrest of Ramirez. "We have considerable work left to do. There are at least two outstanding suspects that we are actively searching for."

The arrest of Ramirez, he said, stemmed from a tip from a parole officer that led to police obtaining search warrants.

Stow, who drove more than 300 miles from his home in Santa Cruz to attend Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, was attacked and beaten by two men in the parking lot following the game, apparently because he wore Giants garb.

Stow's assailants, who struck him from behind and kicked him as he lay on the ground, remained at large for more than seven weeks despite a $150,000 reward and sketches of their likenesses posted on billboards across the city.

A week after the attack on Stow, city officials and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt pledged to beef up security at the stadium and deploy a "sea" of police officers there.

McCourt and city officials had been roundly criticized in the local media and by talk-radio hosts for lax security at the stadium, where pundits say an atmosphere of intimidation and thuggish behavior has been tolerated for several years.

Commentators say the stadium parking lot also suffered from poor lighting and that residents of surrounding neighborhoods have for years been subject to vandalism, littering and rude behavior from fans.

(Additional reporting by Steve Gormanj; Editing by Greg McCune)