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GRAPHIC: Suspect punches, slams woman into ground in gas station attack

Published: Jun. 6, 2021 at 5:30 AM EDT
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GARDENA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - Hours after security video was released of a random attack on a woman pumping gas at a California gas station, authorities announced a suspect was under arrest.

Detectives say a man wanted for an unprovoked and vicious attack was arrested late Friday after he was turned in by a concerned relative.

The unnamed man is seen in video of the attack that happened just after 7 p.m. last Sunday at Sinclair Gas Station in Gardena, California. Shirtless, the man allegedly punched an unsuspecting woman, who was pumping gas.

Sheriff’s detectives say the victim suffered severe injuries in the minute-long attack. They allege the suspect grabbed her hair and slammed her head into her car, the gas pump and the ground.

Physically, she’s now recovering, but she’s struggling with processing the trauma of the attack.

“It’s the emotional part. She’s really having a difficult time leaving the house. She’s struggling to take her daughter to school, to pick her daughter up from school. She hasn’t been back to work since the incident,” said Detective Keegan McInnis with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

McInnis says the suspect is a foot taller than the 5-foot-4-inch victim and outweighs her by close to 200 pounds.

“He never tried to take anything from her. He never asked for anything,” the detective said.

McInnis says the department is looking into the possibility of the attack being a hate crime. The suspect allegedly made comments to the victim about her speaking Spanish.

Investigators say the same man attacked a 63-year-old woman in her car in the same area on Saturday afternoon. They were not releasing his name as they continued looking into additional reports of possible assaults.

McInnis says he has a criminal history of assault and was on parole for assault at the time of the attack.

Gas station workers say the suspect is a regular customer, showing up daily to buy coffee and cigarettes.

The victim doesn’t live in the area. She just started working nearby a week prior to the attack. This was the first time she stopped at the location for gas.

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