Man charged with felony battery in SoFi Stadium altercation; victim out of coma
Bryan Alexis Cifuentes is charged after punching 49ers fan Daniel Luna, who was left in a medically induced coma, prosecutors say.
A 33-year-old man arrested last month in connection with a SoFi Stadium parking lot altercation that left a San Francisco 49ers fan in a medically induced coma has been charged with battery, prosecutors said Wednesday, and the 49ers fan has come out of his coma.
Bryan Alexis Cifuentes faces one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury in connection with the assault in the Inglewood stadium’s parking lot during the Jan. 30 NFC championship game between the Rams and the 49ers.
“We want to continue to ensure that our sporting events are safe for everyone,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement. “We will not tolerate violent behavior at what should have been a joyous occasion for our county.”
After the 49ers fan, 40-year-old Daniel Luna, approached a group of people watching the game in the parking lot, prosecutors said, Cifuentes knocked him out during a confrontation and then fled.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said last month that video shows people mingling in the parking lot when Luna pushes another man — later identified as Cifuentes — from behind.
The other man pushed Luna back and then struck him in the face, Butts said. Luna fell to the ground and hit his head.
Police traced Cifuentes’ address in Los Angeles after surveillance video showed his car in the stadium lot, providing a license plate number, Butts said. They left contact information at his home.
Cifuentes later contacted police but declined to come to the department to be interviewed, Butts said. Officers then went to his workplace in Montebello, and he “voluntarily accompanied them to the Inglewood Police Department” and was taken into custody Feb. 3, the mayor said.
Cifuentes is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 29 at the Inglewood Courthouse.
Luna was hospitalized after he was found bleeding in the parking lot about half an hour into the game.
A spokesperson for Luna’s family said Wednesday that the Bay Area restaurateur had come out of the coma and was expected to be released from the hospital into rehab this month.
A man was arrested on suspicion of felony assault in connection with the case, but legal experts say that could be...
Luna is the owner of the Oakland restaurant Mistura. He flew to L.A. and attended the game alone after other fans who were to accompany him canceled, according to a friend.
Officials faced scrutiny for not informing the public about the incident for several days.
It took three days and an inquiry from The Times before authorities acknowledged the incident. Inglewood Police Lt. Geoffrey Meeks denied there was an attempt to cover up Luna’s beating in the run-up to the Super Bowl, which SoFi Stadium hosted two weeks later.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” Meeks said, stating that the department’s silence was in keeping with standard practice for ongoing investigations.
Law enforcement experts said it was unconscionable for authorities to delay revealing the incident.
“You should put out that information to the public because the perpetrator is a public safety hazard and threat to the community,” said Horace Frank, a former assistant Los Angeles police chief who oversaw major game security operations.
The incident drew comparisons to the infamous 2011 beating of San Francisco Giants fan and Capitola resident Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium.
Butts said it was inaccurate to liken the incident at SoFi to what happened to Stow.
“The situation in Dodger Stadium is nowhere comparable to this,” he said, “and to be blunt about it, it looked like a small altercation that went very bad. ... It wasn’t like you had people ganging up on somebody and beating them.”
Butts said a security guard called paramedics very shortly after the altercation. He said he was not concerned about security at the stadium.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.