Good Samaritan killed after saving child from attack in Hollywood

Detectives were looking Friday for a man who fatally punched a good Samaritan who tried to fend off an attack on a child at a Hollywood fast-food restaurant.

Gabriel Ortega, 57, of Hollywood, was inside the restaurant in the 1400 block of Vine Street on June 18 when he saw another man screaming at a child, police said.


Ortega shielded the child from what appeared to be an "imminent" attack and told the man to leave the child alone. The man punched Ortega in the face and fled the restaurant, said Los Angeles Police Department West Bureau homicide Det. Steven Katz.

Ortega filed a battery report and told police officers he would seek his own medical care, Katz said. Two days later, Ortega checked himself into Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and complained of a headache and vomiting, Katz said.

He died from his injuries July 14. The coronor's office determined Wednesday that Ortega died of blunt force trauma and listed his death as a homicide, Katz said.

"It's a sad thing," he said. "Mr. Ortega is a good Samaritan."

It's unknown why the man was screaming at the child, Katz said, adding it did not appear the attacker had any relationship with the child.

The suspect was described as African American, 30 to 45 years old, 5-feet-9 to 5-feet-11 and 175 to 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD West Bureau homicide detectives at (213) 382-9470.

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