The suspect in a deadly attack on a 70-year-old Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker in downtown L.A. has been arrested, authorities said Friday.
Gerson Carrillo Torres was arrested Thursday following the July 2 assault of Julius Rondez.
Torres, 22, was detained in the area of Third and Wall streets days after Rondez was struck in a seemingly random attack, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The assailant had been walking in the opposite direction of Rondez in the 400 block of East Temple Street just after 4:30 p.m. when he turned around and “hooked his right arm around the victim’s neck” and struck him, LAPD officials have said.
He knocked Rondez to the ground — hitting his head against the pavement, according to police. Rondez was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he died of his injuries a day later.
Coroner’s officials have determined he died of blunt head trauma.
A 33-year veteran of LADWP, Rondez had refused to retire from the agency because he was “still strong” and able to keep working, according to his daughter Janice Rondez.
She described him as an immigrant from the Philippines who came to the U.S. with nothing and said he would regularly take the Gold Line train to work from his home in Highland Park.
Rondez was set to go on vacation the day he was brutally assaulted, his daughter said.
“My father didn’t deserve this. I don’t think anyone does,” she said.
She told KTLA that a detective told her police believe the killer is homeless but police have not described him that way publicly.
A statement from LADWP to fellow employees describes Rondez as someone 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,” wrote David H. Wright, LADWP’s general manager.
Photos of a person of interest had been released by police Thursday.
Officials said Torres was booked on suspicion of murder and is being held on $2 million bail.
Anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD detectives at 213-833-3750. During non-business hours or on weekends, police can be reached at 877-527-3247.
Anonymous tipsters can reach L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or www.lacrimestoppers.org.