A Navy veteran who was waiting for a bus outside a Chipotle in Koreatown was hit in the face in an apparent unprovoked attack by a stranger and the incident was captured on video.
The victim, who wanted to be identified only as “Leo,” said he was looking at his phone around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue when a man who had been seated on the bench near him got up and used his elbow to hit Leo in the face.
Before the attack, Leo noticed that the man appeared to be anxious.
“I didn’t think too much of it and before you know it, I blacked out,” Leo said.
Video shows the man taking a couple of steps toward Leo and then elbowing him in what appears to be an unprovoked attack.
Leo said he didn’t remember anything when he woke up on the ground.
“It was a very scary feeling, not knowing what happened,” he said. Leo decided to go back and get the surveillance video when he got out of the hospital.
A man seen in the video came to Leo’s aid and a woman called 911, although Leo says he can’t remember much of anything before the paramedics arrived.
Leo’s face shows scratches and bruises from the punch, but he still doesn’t know why the stranger attacked him.
“Initially I thought it was a hate crime because it was unprovoked … but I don’t know for sure,” he said.
Leo, who is Asian American, says he’s a Navy veteran who served overseas for five years and was honorably discharged in 2013.
As for the attacker, police are still searching for him.
He is described by police as being a Black man between 30 and 35 years old who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs around 250 pounds. He is bald and was last seen wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans and was carrying a backpack.
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect is asked to call Olympic division detectives at 213-382-9450.