Rafael Reyna remains on life support with a fractured skull after being savagely beaten in the parking lot of Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium on March 29. Reyna was leaving the stadium after watching the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks and heading back to his truck when he was attacked by an unknown man. The 45-year-old married father of four children is currently in critical condition at County USC Medical Center and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family cover expenses.
Here’s what you need to know about Rafael Reyna and this brutal crime:
An Unknown Assailant Attacked Reyna
Reyna, who’d gone to the game by himself, was talking to his wife Christel on Facetime when a man described as being in his early twenties started to scream obscenities. She said Rafael was confused since he didn’t know the man.
“The next thing I hear is like a bat sound, now I know that was (Rafael) hitting the ground. The assailant took off in a white SUV. “I heard the person tell another person ‘get to the car,’” Christel told CBS News. The Los Angeles Police Department is still searching for the assailant, who has yet to be identified. Passersby attempted to help Reyna, shouted for the attacker to stop and called for security to assist them. The beating was initially being investigated as an argument between Reyna and the unidentified assailant however law enforcement has now determined that Reyna and the man who attacked him had no previous interaction. The suspect is thought to have fled in a White SUV.
This Is the Second Serious Attack at Dodger Stadium
On March 31, 2011, nearly eight years to the day of Reyna’s attack, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was assaulted by two men in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on opening day. Stow was leaving the game with friends when two suspects began taunting and beating him and then jumped in a car driven by an unidentified woman.
Stow sustained serious brain injuries after being repeatedly hit on the head and falling to the ground and a portion of his skull had to be removed. Eight years later, Stow requires assistance from caregivers. “I’ve run out of tears for this young man,” said former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. “Whatever happened to him … should never have happened. We hope and pray that he comes out of that coma.”
After a two month investigation, two individuals were arrested. Marvin Norwood pleaded guilty and served a four-year prison term for Stow’s assault. Co-defendant Louie Sanchez also pleaded guilty to the crime and served eight years plus an additional six years for a separate weapons conviction. In July 2014, Stow was awarded $18 million dollars after a Los Angeles jury determined that security at Dodger Stadium was insufficient.
Stow and his family created the Bryan Stow Foundation, an anti-bullying organization. According to the foundation’s website, “Bryan Stow is now on a mission to teach kids everywhere how to live kinder lives, as well as help empower a change in attitude for kids with bullying tendencies.”
Dodger Fans Are Worried About Security
While the attacks on Reyna and Stow have been some of the most serious acts of violence at Dodger Stadium, these have not been isolated incidents. The sports venue has become famous for beatings and brawls and dozens of videos depicting fan violence can be viewed. In 2012, a parking lot fender bender resulted in the beating of a man and the arrest of his four attackers, while a Mets fan wound up in critical condition after being attacked by a mother and her son.
The official Dodgers website says “The Dodgers highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of our Guests and take every reasonable step to ensure the safety of everyone entering Dodger Stadium. Guests and their belongings are subject to inspection before entering Dodger Stadium.” Back in 2011, the attack on Stow resulted in the Dodgers hiring former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton to create a blueprint that would help beef up security at the stadium and in 2015 the Dodger Stadium announced stricter security procedures inside the park.
One of OJ Simpson’s “Dream Team” Lawyers is Working with the Reyna Family
Carl E. Douglas held an April 2nd press conference to discuss the attack on Reyna and stated that few improvements had been made to Dodger Stadium’s security since the 2011 attack on Bryan Stow. Douglas was part of the legal defense “Dream Team” that represented O.J. Simpson’s during his lengthy murder trial.“Mrs. Reyna asks the question of the Los Angeles Dodgers, what have you done in the last 8 years to make Dodger Stadium safe for all of the millions of paying customers who pass through your turnstile every home game? We seek answers to that (and other) questions,” he wrote on Facebook.
Douglas held the press conference with David Lira, one of the lawyers who successfully secured the Stow family’s $18 million judgment in 2011. When asked if there were plans to sue the Dodgers, ESPN reported that the Douglas felt it was “too soon” to discuss litigation however the family is currently considering taking possible legal action. “We’re a huge Dodger fan family and this is how they treat their fans? I shouldn’t have to go through this,” Christel Reyna told CBS News after the attack.