Police on Sunday took one of two men suspected in the March 31 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow in a Dodger Stadium parking lot into custody.
Police identified the suspect in custody as 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez, of Los Angeles. They said he is the man on the left of a widely displayed sketch of two men described by witnesses in the attack.
Ramirez was booked for assault with a deadly weapon. Bond was set at $1 million.
At a late afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the hard work of the LAPD. Officials credited a tip from a vigilant parole agent for cracking the case.
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Police Chief Charlie Beck's voice cracked as he talked to reporters about the break in the case. He called the arrest a "significant, significant break" and said, "I believe we have the right guy."
Beck said he knew when he went to bed Saturday night that his officers would be moving in on the suspects early in the morning. His chief of operations called him to confirm the arrest.
"He said the words I've been waiting for for seven weeks," Beck said. "We have Bryan's assault suspect in custody."
The arrest came around 7 a.m. Sunday after an LAPD SWAT team swarmed an East Hollywood apartment complex where several people were staying. Two search warrants were issued. One suspect was taken into custody, another detained, according to Lt. Rick Stabile of the LAPD Northeast Division.
Both were brought for questioning to the Northeast Community Police Station in Atwater Village. Police also towed away a black Honda Civic from the apartment complex.
Witnesses told an LA Times reporter that the man was bald and had tattoos on his neck, thus resembling one of two suspects in the nearly-deadly March 31 assault on Brian Stow, who was leaving an Opening Day game wearing Giants clothing.
Beck said that there are at least two more outstanding suspects in the case that he hopes to track down in the coming days. He said his job was only half done.
Villaraigosa commended the LAPD for working through over 630 leads to crack the case.
"This new development is a reminder of the progress we make by working together as a community and with law enforcement to ensure justice is carried out. Any piece of information, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, is part of a larger puzzle," he said.
Stow's family was informed of the arrest Sunday as they continued to hold vigil at his San Francisco General hospital bed. They have said in the past they believed that police would make arrests in the case.
Last week, the police chief in LA announced a doubling of the reward in the case to $200,000, as well as a third suspect.
Police have been looking for two men wearing Dodger gear who witnesses said attacked Stow from behind. The third suspect was a woman who was seen driving the two men from the scene.
Stow was moved to San Francisco last week, which is near his home in Santa Cruz. His doctors said although he remains in a coma, they are seeing progress because he has been able to come off seizure medications without going into seizures. His long term prognosis is not known, according to his doctors and his family who sadly admit he may never wake up.
The Giants issued a statement shortly after the arrest, saying it was "welcome news in what has been a very difficult time for the Stow family." They commended the LAPD for their hard work and said their thoughts and prayers remain with Bryan Stow and his family.
Dodger owner Frank McCourt also released a statement, thanking Chief Beck and saying he hopes the announcement brings the Stow family "a small measure of relief in what has been an extremely difficult time in their lives." McCourt re-affirmed his commitment to keeping Dodger Stadium safe and said the organization is continuing to work with the LAPD.
According to Beck, 20 full time detectives worked nearly 6,000 hours on the investigation, 1,000 of which were overtime hours.