A Long Beach man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the attack of a 12-year-old boy on his way to visit his grandmother aboard a Long Beach Transit bus on Sunday, police say.
“When my son goes to see his grandma up the street, I don’t expect him to be in no type of violence,” the boy’s father, Billy Brown, told ABC7 Eyewitness News.
The alleged attack occurred Sunday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. on bus number 61, the same bus the boy takes to school every day, Brown said. While the bus was stopped near Atlantic Avenue and Carson Street, the suspect allegedly struck the boy repeatedly, then picked him up and threw him to the other side of the bus before exiting, according to the boy’s account to his father.
“This guy just started hitting my son in the head like he was on UFC or something,” said Brown, who was not on the bus with the boy at the time. “These were closed fists to the face and to the head. I took pictures of my son’s mouth … where [it’s] busted on the top and bottom.”
The bus driver reported the assault to Long Beach Transit, describing the incident as a fight between two males, according to spokesman Mike Gold. The boy told the driver he did not need assistance, so the authorities were not notified and the bus continued its route, Gold added.
At about 2 a.m. Sunday night, LBPD officers were dispatched to the Public Safety Building where they met Brown and the boy with non-life-threatening injuries, according to LBPD spokesman Brandon Fahey.
Wednesday morning, using security camera footage from the bus, LBPD issued an alert regarding the suspect and received tips from the public within hours, Fahey said. The suspect, identified by LBPD as Long Beach resident David Manuel Santana Garcia, 36, was arrested on suspicion of child cruelty, assault with a deadly weapon, battery and unruly behavior on public transit.
Police detained him near Atlantic Avenue and San Antonio Drive at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday without incident, Fahey said.
Garcia’s bail was set at $100,000.
The investigation is ongoing but Fahey said the assault appears to have been unprovoked.
When asked how many assaults occur on public transit annually in Long Beach, Gold said he did not have the data readily available Thursday morning. “We don’t have a whole lot, I know that,” he added.
Regardless of the frequency, Brown told ABC his son will not be riding the bus again.
“My son is terrified of riding the bus,” Brown said. “He doesn’t want to get on the bus.”
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