GARDENA (CBSLA) — Hours after police released video of a random attack on a woman pumping gas at a Gardena gas station last weekend, the Long Beach Police Department said it had arrested a suspect.
The attack happened just after 7 p.m. last Sunday at the Sinclair Gas Station at Rosecrans and Avalon in Gardena. A woman had just begun pumping gas into her vehicle when a man drove into the parking lot and parked directly in front of her.READ MORE: Range Fire: Firefighters Stop Forward Progress Of Small Brush Fire In Sylmar
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say the man calmly got out of his vehicle, walked toward the woman and punched her without any warning or provocation. She fell to the ground, and the man punched her again repeatedly in the head and face, grabbed her hair, and slammed her head against the vehicle and onto the ground several times, authorities said.
After the assault, he calmly walked back to his SUV, got in, and drove away. Gas station employees said the man was actually a regular customer, showing up daily to buy coffee and cigarettes.
The woman told authorities she did not recognize him, did not know him personally, and nothing was taken from her. She was treated at a hospital for severe injuries to her head and face, and is now recovering at home, according to sheriff’s officials.
Authorities she was still struggling with processing the trauma of the attack.READ MORE: High Heat Expected To Grip Southern California This Week
“It’s the emotional part,” LASD Det. Keegan McInnis said. “She’s really having a difficult time leaving the house. She’s struggling to take her daughter to school, pick her daughter up from school. She hasn’t been back to work since the incident.”
McInnis also said that the department was looking into the possibility that it might have been a hate crime.
“He never tried to take anything from her,” he said. “He never asked for anything. He did make some comments to her in regards to her speaking Spanish, so we’re still looking into that for the possibility of a hate crime.”
Investigators also said that the same man attacked a 63-year-old woman in her car in the same area on Saturday afternoon and said that they were not releasing his name as they continued looking into additional reports of possible assaults.
He was taken into custody after a family member turned him in to police.MORE NEWS: Beloved Security Guard Killed In Hit-And-Run In Long Beach Identified As Derrick Smith
Anyone with information about the suspect or the attack was asked to contact McInnis at (323) 568-4800.