A Corona meteorologist was beaten up last week after a group of people at a bar mistook him for a child predator, the man said.
Kevin Martin, who runs the website Southern California Weather Force, was playing pool at a Norco bar Thursday night when a man approached him and asked if they could talk outside, Martin said on his Facebook page.
Once outside, another man pulled out his phone and showed Martin a police sketch, he said, asking whether he was the man in the image.
Despite his denial, Martin said a man twice his size attacked him. He was choked and punched dozens of times, leaving bruises and swelling on his face, he said.
“I could have died that night,” Martin told his followers. “I can’t even leave my house.”
Martin already had seen the sketch the men showed him. The computer-generated image depicts a man with long, wavy hair, glasses and a mustache.
Police said earlier this year that the man depicted in the drawing made sexual comments to an 11-year-old-girl near Curry Court and Parkview Drive in Corona. The man was described as being in his 20s with a thin build, black hair and brown eyes and was seen driving a blue car with tinted windows.
Martin called authorities immediately after seeing the image in May, when it was released by the Corona Police Department. Detectives interviewed him and ruled him out as a suspect, he said.
Sgt. Chad Fountain, a spokesman for the Corona Police Department, confirmed that Martin had been cleared in the case. He said there is no new information about the suspect, leaving the case on hold.
“Corona PD would remind citizens if they see someone who resembles a possible suspect in a crime to call the police so they can verify the information,” he said. “Most importantly, do not take matters into your own hands. This behavior could lead to you being injured by the individual or being arrested for crimes of your own.”
Martin said on Facebook he plans to file charges. Neither the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department nor the district attorney’s office could immediately be reached for comment.