Los Angeles Police announced an arrest Thursday in connection with the beating of a 13-year-old girl at a McDonald’s restaurant.
The suspect, Ariana Lauifi, faces charges of felony child abuse. Investigators said tips from the public helped them track down and identify her as the suspect.
The assault happened on Sept. 6 at a McDonald’s on Lomita Boulevard in Harbor City.
Video of the violent confrontation showed Kassidy Jones, 13, being punched, kicked, and knocked to the ground by an older woman.
Kassidy says she and her friends were on their way home from school when they stopped inside the McDonald’s to use the restroom.
“They got some food and I was going to the bathroom,” Kassidy told KTLA.
But when she came out of the restroom, she claims a woman she had never seen before suddenly lunged at her and began beating her.
“It was totally unprovoked,” Kassidy said. “I don’t know her. I didn’t say anything to her.
Kassidy said the woman was yelling at her during the assault saying, “‘What the F are you looking at? I fight kids. I’ll fight you!’”
Video of the fight shows the woman, who is much larger than Kassidy, pulling her to the floor and punching her in the face repeatedly. As Kassidy tries to defend herself, a crowd of onlookers watch, but no one intervenes.
Kassidy said the woman only stopped hitting her after a man she was with eventually pulled her off. The suspect then grabbed her food and left the McDonald’s.
Angelina said her daughter called her sobbing and terrified. That’s when she immediately called the police and rushed over to Kassidy at the restaurant.
Kassidy was badly bruised and beaten. Her face was severely swollen and she was “covered in blood everywhere,” Angelina recalled.
On Thursday, Kassidy’s family expressed gratitude for the arrest saying:
“The family of Kassidy Jones are extremely grateful that the LAPD has made an arrest of the woman who viciously beat Kassidy in an unprovoked attack as McDonald’s managers and on-lookers offered no help in stopping the assault.
Kassidy is still traumatized and undergoing therapy. But hopefully, this news will give her encouragement that justice will be served. Kassidy deserves a break today.”
Lauifi remains in custody and her case will be referred to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration.
Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to call Harbor Area
Detectives at 310-726-7900 or the LAPD at 1-877-527-3247. Anonymous tips can be submitted to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at lacrimestoppers.org.