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Bryan Stow family speaks out about suspect arrest

May 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Relatives of Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan left with brain damage after being beaten at Dodger Stadium in March, are speaking out about an arrest in the case.

Police arrested 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez in an east Hollywood apartment on Mariposa Avenue on Sunday. Ramirez is believed to be one of two assailants who attacked Stow during the season opener. The search continues for a second man, as well as a woman believed to be their getaway driver.

Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic, remains at San Francisco General Hospital in critical but stable condition under heavy sedation to prevent seizures caused by the traumatic brain injury.

"Bryan has a long road ahead of him, but we are thankful that this suspect is in custody and is unable to do this to another family," said Erin Collins, Stow's sister.

"It was a very emotional day yesterday," said Stow's mother, Ann. "We were very excited that piece of the puzzle had been put in place."

Stow's family said they never lost hope. They thanked the Los Angeles Police Department for its "exhaustive efforts."

Detectives and SWAT raided the apartment early Sunday morning as they served a search warrant. Several people were detained for questioning along with Ramirez.

Ramirez's mother, Soledad Gonzalez, said police arrested the wrong person.

"I'm sorry about what happened to the family but it's not my son," she said. "He doesn't go to games. He doesn't go out. He's on probation."

"They say he looks like the picture that they drew," she added. "A lot of people look like my son."

Detectives said Ramirez has distinctive tattoos. They said he added new ones, possibly to change his appearance.

Gonzalez said her son is a tattoo artist.

Police had been working on this case for 6,000 hours and received more than 600 leads. Police Chief Charlie Beck dedicated 20 full-time detectives to Stow's case.

Authorities said that they were tipped off last week by a parole officer who suspected Ramirez might be their man.

"I got a phone call from my chief of operations, Earl Paysinger," Beck said. "Words that I have been waiting for seven weeks. He said that we had Bryan's assault suspect in custody. This is a huge step."

Ramirez is a convicted robber on parole. He was previously convicted of two felonies, including attempted robbery and a felon in possession of a firearm.

Authorities believe that Ramirez was the main aggressor in the attack against Stow. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, in this case his feet, since he allegedly kicked stow in the head repeatedly.

Ramirez is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned in court Tuesday.

A sketch of Ramirez and another suspect were plastered on billboards around Los Angeles. People in the neighborhood said they didn't know Ramirez was living on their block, but they said they were glad to hear of the arrest.

"I'm glad our system works," said east Hollywood resident Allen Greenspan. "People do care deep down, the police cares. I don't care if it takes 10 years to find someone who beats a tourist. They should find that person eventually."

Stow was transported last week from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center to San Francisco General Hospital. His sister, Bonnie Stow, said that he is able to open his eyes and has not had any seizures.

"Family and friends of Bryan, including the people who were with him that night, are very gratified by the fact that fans around the country have risen to the cause and said this is just intolerable," said Giants president Larry Baer.

Police say that they are actively pursuing leads to apprehend the other suspects at large.

The woman who allegedly drove the men away was described as wearing a white Andre Ethier Dodgers jersey with the number 16 on the back. A boy about 10 years old was also thought to be in the car as it drove away from the scene of the crime.

"You have to be able to count on your police department to solve crime and to put thugs like this individual in jail," Beck said. "That's what we've done."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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