Police: Arrest in altercation that badly injured 49ers fan

Stefanie Dazio
Associated Press

Los Angeles – A suspect was arrested in an altercation that badly injured a San Francisco 49ers fan in a parking lot outside SoFi Stadium during last weekend’s NFC championship game between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams, police said Friday.

Inglewood police Lt. Nicole Loudermilk confirmed that the suspect was taken into custody Thursday night, but released no further details. The incident has raised concerns about security at the upcoming Super Bowl to be played at SoFi.

The 49ers fan, Daniel Luna, 40, had to be put into a medically induced coma after he was punched, fell and struck his head on the ground, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said at a news conference Thursday.

Fans make their way to SoFi Stadium before the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.

Butts said police sought the man who threw the punch based on a blurry video and the license plate of a car.

Luna, who owns a restaurant in Oakland, was mingling in a crowd of about 16 people at SoFi Stadium, most of them wearing what appeared to be 49ers jerseys, when he pushed a man wearing a Rams jersey from behind, Butts said after viewing the video.

Before that, Butts said, “there didn’t seem to be any hostilities.”

When Luna turned to walk away, the man pushed Luna back, the mayor said. When Luna turned, the man punched him in the mouth, causing Luna to fall to the ground and hit the back of his head, Butts said, estimating that the encounter lasted less than five seconds.

“It looked like a small altercation that went very bad,” he said. “From one punch and someone falling, hitting their head on the ground. It wasn’t like you had people ganging up on somebody and beating them.”

Luna’s face was fractured and he was placed in a medically induced coma to prevent internal bleeding from swelling his brain, Butts said.

The mayor said the video isn’t clear enough to provide a description of the suspect but he was seen talking to some people in a car. Security won’t be increased because of the incident, the mayor said.

“I’m very comfortable there was sufficient security” in the parking lot, he said. “There is plenty of security in the parking lot. You’re not going to stop every altercation, argument between fans. It’s just not going to happen.”

The attack was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.