Cop tip key in nabbing Giants fan assault suspect

Published 1:52 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Police got hundreds of tips after flooding Los Angeles with drawings and descriptions of suspects in the Dodger Stadium beating of a San Francisco Giants fan.

But it was a lead from inside law enforcement that led to the man they say was the main aggressor in the grisly beating of Bryan Stow seven weeks ago.

The tip from a parole officer late last week led to the arrest Sunday of Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles in the attack that occurred in a stadium parking lot after the Dodgers’ season opener on March 31.

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Ramirez was detained during a raid by detectives and SWAT team members who had a search warrant for an East Hollywood apartment building in what Police Chief Charlie Beck called a “huge step” in the investigation.

Ramirez was later booked for assault with a deadly weapon and was being held on $1 million bail.

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said her office had not yet received the case on Monday. Still, Ramirez could be arraigned as early as Tuesday.

Two other suspects remained at large — another man who took part in the beating and a woman who drove the two men from the stadium.

Beck choked back tears as he described getting a call at 7 a.m. Sunday from Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger about the investigation that involved 20 full-time detectives who worked for more than 6,000 hours. 

“He said the words I’ve been waiting for for seven weeks,” Beck said. “He said that we had Bryan’s assault suspect in custody.”

Ramirez was among several people detained for questioning after police served search warrants and seized evidence in the apartment building and a home, police said in a statement.

All except Ramirez were expected to be released, the statement said. Beck did not know if Ramirez had hired an attorney.

Beck said many people in Los Angeles had seen an image of “Suspect 1” on flyers and billboards. Police described the man as having a bald head, goatee and tattoos on his neck. Both men were wearing Dodger jerseys during the attack. Rewards totaling $250,000 were offered for information leading to arrests.  

Stow, 42, a paramedic and father of two, was transferred last week to San Francisco General Hospital after he was treated at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, where doctors put him in a medically induced coma to help prevent seizures.

Doctors recently reported that Stow has been able to open his eyes but remained in critical condition.

His mother Ann Stow said she knew police in Los Angeles would catch someone. She praised their work and the way they dealt with her family.

“They were so compassionate with our family, and reached out to us, and made a promise that they were not going to rest until they got these guys,” she told KCBS radio. “So that’s how I put it out of my mind. I didn’t think about it, I knew it was going to be taken care of, and obviously they did what they promised.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said after hearing about the arrest, he called Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to express his thanks for authorities’ efforts and to congratulate him.

Giants fan Les Wong, 37, of San Francisco celebrated the news as he headed to the game.

“It’s good to hear that they caught someone. That kind of thing doesn’t belong in sports,” said Wong, who was wearing a Giants hat and Giants T-shirt.

Following the attack, Beck beefed up security at Dodger Stadium to deal with fights that had been breaking out at games in recent years and complaints from fans of opposing teams of verbal abuse and threats. 

Beck said the new security plan is working.

“Even though the crowds have been small, this is the safest stadium in this country here in these past series, and it will continue to be so,” the chief said.

But Beck said of the investigation that “this job is only half done” with suspects still at large.

“The woman who was driving, you need to give yourself in. The other coward who did this, you need to give yourself in,” said City Councilman Ed Reyes. “Let’s end this.”