RIALTO – Two Rialto residents were charged and a third arrested on Thursday with brutally attacking a baseball fan on opening day at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
On Monday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge postponed the arraignments of Marvin Eugene Norwood, 30, and Louie Alex Sanchez, 29, until August. They were charged with the March 31 beating of San Francisco Giants’ fan Bryan Stow, who has been hospitalized and comatose ever since.
Norwood and Louie Sanchez were charged on Friday with felony mayhem and assault by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. A third suspect, 31-year-old Dorene Sanchez, was taken into custody last week on the suspicion of driving the suspects away after the attack.
Stow, 42, is a paramedic from Santa Cruz who was brutally assaulted after the Dodgers beat the Giants on opening day. His condition has been listed as critical at times.
Police had arrested Giovanni Ramirez for the assault in May. During a high profile media conference announcing the arrest, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck proclaimed Ramirez to be “the prime suspect.”
Last week, Beck exonerated Ramirez, who had also been arrested for violation of his probation when Los Angeles investigators found a gun in his residence. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail for that violation, serving time in the San Diego area when the Sanchez and Norwood arrests were made last week.
When Los Angeles investigators were unable to gather any supporting evidence against Ramirez, the search continued for Stow’s assailants. Police were able to release composite artist sketches of the assailants.
A break in the case came when fans in the section where the suspects were seated took note of their aggressive behavior, said police. Investigators tracked the suspects through ticket purchases after narrowing down the area in the stadium where witnesses reported the suspects’ behavior.
A Los Angeles Times report said that both suspects bragged to co-workers about the attack on Stow. Other evidence, say police, place both men at the stadium.
In an Associated Press report last week, a law enforcement source said that the two men made incriminating statements that implicated themselves in the beating. Another source, however, claimed that there is no forensic evidence linking either Norwood or Sanchez to the crime.
The motive for the beating, police say, appears related to the fact that Stow was a Giants fan wearing team apparel, and that the current suspects are Dodger supporters. Reports on Monday state that Louie Sanchez was also charged with assaulting two other fans on the same day. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in an attack on a man and woman, say police.
Court papers filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office included graphic details about the attack on Stow, alleging that Norwood and Sanchez “did cut and disable his tongue, and put out an eye and slit the nose, ear and lip.”
All three lived on Victoria Street in Rialto, a city that is located along Interstate 10, less than an hour’s drive from Dodger Stadium. Both Louie Sanchez and Norwood attended Rialto Eisenhower High School.
The arrest took place early Thursday morning when dozens of SWAT officers from both Los Angeles and Rialto police departments parked their vehicles a block away from the cul-de-sac street on which the suspects resided.
They swarmed to the home of Louie Sanchez, where he reportedly lived with his parents and only a few doors away from the home of Norwood and Dorene Sanchez.
L.A. investigators came to Rialto in the early morning hours on Thursday.
“We were strictly here as a resource to them for their ongoing investigation,” said Rialto police Lt. Joe Cirilo.
Both suspects have arrest records that include physical violence in Rialto and neighboring city Fontana, police say. Norwood was convicted in March 2006 for inflicting bodily injury on a spouse or partner, according to records. He spent 118 days in jail.
Louie Sanchez was found guilty of the same crime in 2003, serving a sentence of 30 days, according to San Bernardino County court records.
During a Friday media conference in which Beck cleared Ramirez, the police chief disclosed that investigators had 850 leads and conducted 600 interviews to find the beating suspects.
Witnesses to the beating told police that Stow was walking through the Dodger Stadium parking lot with two friends after the game, stating that he was hit from behind and knocked to the ground. The beating was savage, witnesses told police, and left Stow near death.
Police were told that after the beating, a woman, possibly Dorene Sanchez, with a boy believed to be about 10, picked the suspects up and drove away. Sanchez was arrested and appeared before the grand jury on Friday. She was released on $50,000 bail on charges of being an accessory after the fact.
Reports indicate the 10-year-old boy might be Louie Sanchez’s son. One report says a youth provided law enforcement with information about the attack.
Sanchez, who is 5-feet-11 and 175 pounds, and Norwood, who is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, appear to match the physical descriptions provided by witnesses, say police. Tattoos on Sanchez’s neck also seem to match the description by witnesses, though it was that type of connection that led to Ramirez’s arrest through his parole officer.
Security at Dodger Stadium had been cut by ownership prior to opening day, said reports, but have since been resolved. The re is now an increased security presence in the parking areas along with undercover officers inside the stadium to curb aggressive fan behavior.
Stow has been largely comatose for more than three months. He was eventually transferred from Los Angeles to San Francisco General Hospital where he remains. He had emergency surgery on July 18. The prospects for a complete recovery, according to reports from San Francisco area media sources, appear doubtful.