49ers fan punched during NFC championship remains in coma
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The family of a San Francisco 49ers fan who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being punched during an altercation outside SoFi Stadium last weekend said he remains in a coma Saturday.
Daniel Luna was in the intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after undergoing surgery Friday to relieve pressure on the right side of his head, Luna’s family said in a statement.
“We know he has a long road ahead of him,” the statement said. The 40-year-old owns a restaurant in Oakland, where his wife works as the host.
Luna had to be put into a medically induced coma after he was punched, fell and struck his head on the ground during the NFC championship game between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.
For several days, police sought the man who threw a punch based on a blurry video and the license plate of a car in the stadium’s parking lot. On Friday, they announced the arrest Bryan Alexis Cifuentes-Rossell, 33, for investigation of assault by means to produce great bodily injury. He was released on $30,000 bail.
Messages seeking comment were left at phone numbers and an email address believed to be associated with Cifuentes-Rossell, but have not been returned. It was not known if he retained a lawyer.
Inglewood Mayor James Thurman Butts Jr., who viewed the video, said Luna was mingling in a crowd of about 16 people, most of them wearing what appeared to be 49ers jerseys, when he pushed a man wearing a Rams jersey from behind.
When Luna turned to walk away, the man pushed Luna back, the mayor told reporters on Thursday. When Luna turned, the man punched him in the mouth, causing Luna to fall to the ground and hit the back of his head, Butts said, estimating that the encounter lasted less than five seconds.
Luna’s family thanked paramedics who found him in the parking lot and law enforcement investigating the altercation. They hired an attorney and asked anyone who may have photos, videos or information about what happened to come forward.
“Right now, we are focused on Daniel’s care and getting through this traumatic and horribly difficult time,” the statement said. “We want to make sure these NFL events are safe and secure for everyone and that all parties responsible for this tragic and violent attack will be held accountable so that something like this never happens again.”
The Rams beat the 49ers on Sunday 20-17 to advance to the Super Bowl, where they will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13.