A longtime Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker who was injured in a seemingly random attack in downtown Los Angeles a week ago has died, and police are still looking for a “person of interest” in the case.
The victim was walking in the 400 block of East Temple Street toward a Metro train platform about 4:35 p.m. July 2 when a man walking in the opposite direction passed him. The man then turned around and “hooked his right arm around the victim’s neck striking him,” Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a crime alert.
The victim fell to the ground, hit his head and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He died the following night, LADWP spokeswoman Deborah Hong told KTLA this week.
An autopsy revealed he died of blunt head trauma, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Coroner’s Office.
He was identified in a bulletin sent to department staff as Julius Rondez, who had worked for the agency for more than 33 years.
Rondez, 70, most recently worked as a senior commercial field representative in meter services and field operations, according to the bulletin.
“Julius was known for his happiness, sense of humor and one-of-a-kind personality. He was kind, peaceful and a family man who took great pride in his loved ones,” DWP General Manager David H. Wright said in the bulletin.
Rondez was a Dodgers and Lakers fan who graduated valedictorian of his high school and graduated from college with honors in civil engineering.
He helped mentor new employees and continued learning on the job despite his decades on the job, the bulletin reads.
Rondez is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.
His daughter, Janice Rondez, told KTLA that her father refused to retire because he was “still strong” and was able to continue working. He was set to go on vacation on the day he was attacked, she said.
“It shouldn’t have happened . It was in broad daylight, the sun was up,” Janice Rondez said of the assault. She added that her father regularly took the Gold Line train to work from his home in Highland Park.
“He was everything to us,” Janice Rondez said. She added that her father came from the Philippines with nothing and made a home for himself in Los Angeles. Extended family and friends from his home country are also mourning his loss, she said.
“My father didn’t deserve this. I don’t think anyone does,” Janice Rondez said.
She said a detective told her the assailant was homeless, but authorities did not elaborate on the person they are seeking.
Police shared photos of the man possibly involved in the attack. He was initially described only as a man less than half the victim’s age, estimated to be between 20 and 30 years old. Anyone who recognizes the man can call 213-996-1879.