Doggone! Search for Pooch Lands Master in Custody Before He’s Cleared in Scuffle With Would-Be Robber

When John Ray Estrada went out looking for his dog Wednesday night, it began a misadventure that left authorities wondering whether he should be considered a victim of a crime, a good Samaritan--or a criminal himself.

According to Police Detective Deborah Gonzales, the drama began about 9 p.m. Wednesday when Estrada, a 26-year-old Echo Park resident, rode off on his bicycle to hunt for his missing dog. Estrada told authorities that he found the canine in the 1400 block of Sunset Boulevard and, leaving his bike behind, walked the pet home.

When he returned for his bicycle, Estrada said, he found a man trying to pedal away with it. The 6 foot, 196-pound Estrada told police that as they scuffled over the bicycle, he struck the man with a single punch. The man’s head hit a brick wall. He crumpled to the ground and lay motionless in a pool of blood. Estrada called paramedics and began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Gonzales said.

Paramedics took the unconscious man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was admitted as a “John Doe” and initially listed in critical condition. Doctors who examined the man, according to Gonzales, said symptoms also indicated that the man was under the influence of narcotics.


Police questioned Estrada and, noting the severity of the man’s injuries, booked him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The district attorney’s office, after reviewing the evidence, declined to press charges.

The suspected would-be bicycle thief, his identity still unknown to authorities, was doing better and listed in stable condition, authorities said Thursday.