Published April 05, 2011
LOS ANGELES – Police are searching for suspects responsible for beating a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium after last week’s opening game.
Bryan Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, is showing signs of brain damage and remains in critical condition after the beating. He suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain’s frontal lobes, said neurosurgeon Dr. Gabriel Zada.
At one point, doctors at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center had to remove the entire left side of his skull to ease pressure on his brain. The pressure is now normal but Stow remains in a coma from his injuries and from sedation to reduce his brain activity, Zada said.
"It's going to be a long recovery process," he said.
It was too early to make a prognosis but such injuries can affect memory, thinking ability and even personality, Zada said.
Stow was in a parking lot heading to a taxi stand after the Dodgers' 2-1 victory over the Giants on March 31 when two shaven-headed young men in Dodgers clothing began taunting and swearing at him and two other fans, who were all wearing Giants gear, police said.
Stow was punched in the back of the head. He fell down, bashing his head on the pavement, and was kicked before the attackers ran off.
They fled in a four-door sedan driven by a woman who had a boy with her, police said.
The suspects are described as between 18 and 25 years old, according to LAPD Detective Percy Morris. Composite sketches released by police show they both had shaved heads and thin mustaches. One suspect had a small goatee and the second had numerous tattoos on his neck.
Stow’s cousin issued a call for civility among sports fans at a news conference at the hospital Friday and thanked people across the country who have expressed support for the family.
"We would like to use this as a rallying cry to stop unnecessary violence in our greatest pastime and all other sports, not only here but abroad," said John Stow, who wore a Giants hat and jersey as he spoke.
"We have no animosity toward the people of Los Angeles. We've been received with open arms and love," said a sister, Erin Collins.
Of the attackers, she said: "They weren't true Dodger fans."
The City Council on Tuesday voted to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to arrests. With previous offers from the Dodgers, Giants and Stow’s employer, that brings the total to $100,000. Stow’s co-workers have also set up a fund to help pay his medical expenses.
Investigators had several leads and some evidence that was recovered at the scene, Detective Jose Carrillo said. He did not provide details.
He estimated that out of some 40,000 people who streamed into the parking lot after the game, at least 100 probably were near enough to see the attack and he urged them to contact police. It was too dark for video surveillance camera to provide clear images, he said.
Investigators also were looking into unconfirmed reports that Stow's attackers punched three or four young men in Giants gear only minutes before Stow was assaulted, Carrillo said.
Stow, an enthusiastic Giants fan, was attending his first game at Dodgers Stadium and had looked forward to the game all year, his first cousin, John Stow, said.
However, he may have had some worries after arriving.
"During the game, my wife received a text message from him ... He basically said he was scared inside the stadium," John Stow said, adding that his cousin did not usually make such comments lightly.
The Giants announced plans on Tuesday to honor Stow by dedicating Monday's game against the Dodgers in San Francisco to the injured man. The Giants will collect donations from fans during the game to benefit Stow and his family. The team will make an initial contribution of $10,000 to The Bryan Stow Fund. Also, proceeds from a silent auction scheduled for that day will benefit the fund.
Additionally, on Friday during the Giants' first home game of the season, the team will pay tribute to Stow in a special ceremony before the contest.
Anyone with information on the beating was asked to call LAPD Detective Percy Morris or fellow Detective Larry Burcher at (213) 847-4261.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.