Suspect Pleads Not Guilty To Folding Chair Attack On Homeless Man In Venice

LOS ANGELES ( — A reputed gang member pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he attacked a homeless man in with a folding chair and a pipe.

Apolinar Celestino Lopez, 31, is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon. The complaint includes gang and deadly weapons allegations.

The attack, which was captured on video, occurred about 4 a.m. Dec. 13 near Ocean Front Walk and Horizon Avenue in Venice. The video of the unprovoked attack was distributed by police during the investigation of the crime.

The victim suffered a broken arm, as well as a head injury, police said.

“Although the victim has been homeless at times, we don’t believe (the motivation) is an attack on a homeless person,” Los Angeles police Capt. Brian Johnson said when Lopez was arrested.

The two men knew each other and had some sort of dispute, according to Johnson.

Lopez, who is free on bail, is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Feb. 19.

Prosecutors said he has two prior felony convictions for possession for sale of cocaine base in 2004 and 2007.

If convicted as charged, he faces up to 11 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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