Police say they arrested a Bellflower man on suspicion of murder Wednesday in connection with the death of a 72-year-old Long Beach woman who died because of lasting head trauma caused by a punch.
Long Beach police say they took 19-year-old Lawrence Jackson into custody during a traffic stop in Bellflower after they concluded he was responsible for the death of Barbara Scott, who, according to authorities, died from a subdural hematoma that was the result of being punched in the face a month earlier.
Jackson was booked on one count of murder and his bail was set at $2 million, authorities said. Detectives expect to present the case to the District Attorney’s Office later this week for charging consideration.
Scott was in an alleyway around 9 a.m. on Aug. 21 to feed the stray cats there as she often did, her sister Tracy Scott told the Post. That’s when she witnessed an argument between Jackson and a woman, police said.
Scott tried to intervene and get them to stop arguing, but the man walked over to Scott and punched her in the face, according to details from a coroner’s report.
“She pleaded with him to just let her go for now and they could come back and talk when they are calmer and have a clear head,” Tracy said. “The guy didn’t like what she had to say, so he hit her.”
Jackson and the woman then fled the scene, police said.
First responders arrived a couple of minutes later and found an injured Scott near the 1000 block of Redondo Avenue. Paramedics provided immediate aid, but she refused to be transported to a local hospital, opting to return to her apartment instead, according to witness accounts contained in the coroner’s report.
Nearly seven hours later, a neighbor did a welfare check on Scott and found her unconscious, authorities said.
Paramedics then transported Scott to St. Mary Medical Center where she underwent surgery to reduce swelling in her brain, according to an analysis conducted by the coroner’s office.
After her surgery, Scott, who is a military veteran, was transferred to the Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Long Beach, according to the coroner’s report.
A day before her death, witnesses recalled seeing Scott “awake but tired” as she was discharged from the VA hospital to a local nursing home, according to the report.
Nursing home staff recalled seeing Scott alive and breathing around 7 a.m. on Sept. 16, but hours later paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead.
Four days later, the coroner’s office began an autopsy on Scott’s body. Her death was ruled a homicide on Feb. 24 after additional tests were performed to ensure that the cause of death was related to the blunt head trauma from the punch in the face in August.
On Feb. 28, the Long Beach homicide detectives launched an investigation into Scott’s death to determine the identity of the man who punched her.
Detectives urge anyone with more information to contact them at 562-570-7244.