Gardena Police ID Driver Accused of Hitting Disabled Vet Who Asked Him to Pick up His Trash

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Officials on Monday identified a man who remained at large after allegedly using his car to hit a disabled veteran who asked him to pick up trash he had discarded on a street in Gardena.

The incident, which was captured on surveillance video, happened the morning of Aug. 27 in the 13700 block of  Cimarron Avenue, according to Gardena police.

Joshua Byrd, a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, told KTLA that he was walking his service dog outside his work when he saw a driver throw garbage out his window.

He asked the motorist to collect the trash, Byrd said, and when he got no response, the veteran took it and placed it on the hood of the vehicle.

The driver stayed in the area and later took the litter off his car and tossed it back into the street, Byrd said. The motorist then allegedly started yelling expletives at Byrd and drove in circles in front of him.

Byrd said the man threw “a couple of bottles of pee” at him. The victim said when he tried to take a photo of the vehicle, the driver struck him while going about 35 to 40 mph.

The veteran  fractured his arm and suffered several cuts, according to Gardena police.

The driver fled the scene. On Monday, detectives said they received tips that helped them identify the assailant as Rafael Newell, now wanted on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Byrd previously described him as a heavyset black man about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Investigators urged anyone with information about Newell’s  whereabouts to call the Gardena Police Department’s dispatch center at 310-323-7911 or Detective Goodpaster at 310-217-9653.

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