Suspect Arrested in SoFi Stadium Assault

Officials deny covering up incident that left 49ers fan in coma
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2022 10:28 AM CST
Officials Deny Covering Up Assault at SoFi Stadium
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a news conference outside SoFi Stadium, site of the Super Bowl later this month in Inglewood, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(Newser) – Officials in Inglewood, California, deny that there was any attempt to cover up a near-fatal assault on a fan outside the stadium that will host the Super Bowl on Feb. 13—but critics say they waited far too long to tell the public about it. The Los Angeles Times reports that it took three days, and an inquiry from the Times, before authorities disclosed that San Francisco 49ers fan Daniel Luna, 40, was in a medically induced coma after a suspected beating in a parking lot at SoFi stadium during Sunday's playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams. Fox 11 reports that police say a suspect was arrested after he came forward late Thursday.

Inglewood Mayor James Butts and Inglewood Police Lt. Geoffrey Meeks said Thursday that nobody had tried to hush up the incident. "You don’t notify anyone every time you have an injured person," Butts said, adding Luna was found unconscious and it wasn't clear that an assault had occurred until security video was located. Meeks said it isn't standard practice to publicize attacks unless other leads have been exhausted or specific information is needed from the public. Former assistant LA police chief Horace Frank, however, tells the Times that the incident should have been revealed much sooner. "You should put out that information to the public because the perpetrator is a public safety hazard and threat to the community," says Frank, who oversaw major game security operations.

Butts said Thursday that surveillance video indicates that Luna, an Oakland resident, was the aggressor in the Sunday incident. He said the video shows Luna was mingling with a group of about 16 people, most of them wearing 49ers jerseys, when he shoved a man in a Rams jersey from behind, the AP reports. The mayor said the man in the Rams jersey then punched Luna in the mouth, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground. "It looked like a small altercation that went very bad," Butts said. A woman who identified herself as the suspect's cousin told KTLA Thursday night that the incident happened after her cousin was approached by a group of 49ers fans who appeared to be drunk. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)

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