The trouble began sometime after the first pitch at the Dodgers’ opening day game against the San Francisco Giants.
Dodgers fans Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30 — friends and neighbors from Rialto — yelled taunts at Giants fans and threw soda at them, according to several law enforcement sources. They were so unruly that people sitting nearby in the stands behind third base later reported the pair to police. As the game wound down, the men allegedly grew more hostile. Sanchez reportedly threw soda at a female Giants fan inside Dodger Stadium and pushed another fan as they walked out to the parking lot.
Then, authorities said, the men ran into Bryan Stow. The 42-year-old Santa Clara County paramedic was wearing Giants apparel and searching for a taxi with friends when Sanchez and Norwood allegedly beat him in the parking lot in an attack that left him with brain damage.
In the aftermath of the beating, the two alleged assailants bragged to co-workers that they had been fighting at the game but did not mention Stow by name, according to a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
But as police stepped up their efforts to identify the attackers amid a public outcry, Sanchez told witnesses to keep quiet about what had happened, prosecutors said in a court document filed Monday. Although the witnesses are not named in the document, he and Norwood attended the game with Sanchez’s sister — Dorene Sanchez, 31 — and his 11-year-old son.
Sources said Dorene Sanchez has implicated the two men in the beating. She was arrested Thursday on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact, but was later released and has not been charged. She appeared before the Los Angeles County grand jury Friday.
On Monday, Louie Sanchez and Norwood appeared in court, where a judge ordered them to remain behind bars on $500,000 bail each. Both men are charged with assault and mayhem; Sanchez also is charged with battery on the female Giants fan and the unknown man.
If convicted, Sanchez faces a possible maximum state prison term of nine years and Norwood faces a possible maximum eight-year term.
Los Angeles Police Department officials said they believe the pair might have had altercations with additional fans at the March 31 game and are asking potential victims to come forward.
Authorities released few details Monday about how they connected the pair to the beating and what evidence they have.
But the sources said Robbery-Homicide Division detectives first came upon Sanchez’s and Norwood’s names while reexamining more than 700 tips from the public after the case was reassigned to the unit last month. Among the tips were complaints about the pair’s unruly behavior inside the stadium.
Cellphone records and photographs place the two men at the game when Stow was assaulted, the sources said. In addition, detectives believe Dorene Sanchez helped drive the two assailants after Stow’s beating, the sources said.
In court Monday, prosecutors described Louie Sanchez and Norwood as public safety threats, citing their criminal histories. Both have convictions for domestic violence. Sanchez also has a history of drunk driving, evading police and carrying a loaded gun in public. During a search of Norwood’s home, police recovered five firearms, including an AR-15 assault rifle, according to court records.
Sanchez’s attorney, Gilbert Quinones, said after the court hearing that his client, a supervisor at an auto auction company, was not involved in the attack but did attend the game. He noted that Sanchez’s last violent conviction — for domestic violence — occurred years ago, in 2003.
“He doesn’t fit the profile of someone who would do something like this,” Quinones said. He said Dorene Sanchez was not in a position to implicate his client, but did not elaborate.
Norwood’s mother, Diana Page, said her son called her from jail after his arrest and told her he was innocent.
“He broke down and told me, ‘Mom, I didn’t do this. I couldn’t do this to anybody,’ ” Page said. She said she asked him not to talk more about the case, saying that it upset her.
Page acknowledged that Norwood had run afoul of the law in the past, but said he had cleaned up his act and described him as a loving son and father. She said he was staying out of legal trouble, had just found a higher-paying job in construction and was preparing to marry his fiancee, Dorene Sanchez.
“He doesn’t have anger management problems anymore,” she said. “He’s a cool person to be around. When I’m in the hospital, he’s there.... He has empathy. He cares.”
Her son and his fiancee never showed any signs of nervousness after Stow’s assault, Page said. Indeed, she said, she sympathized with Stow’s family when she first heard the news about his beating and had followed his progress.
“I’ve been keeping track to make sure that he’s OK after it happened, and then all of a sudden my son is involved? It just throws you for a loop,” Page said. “It’s not something he would do to anybody.”
Los Angeles police initially accused another man, Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of the attack but exonerated him publicly last week after officials announced the arrests of Sanchez and Norwood.
The criminal complaint alleges that the men “did cut and disable the tongue, and put out an eye and slit the nose, ear and lip” of Stow. His sister Bonnie said although his tongue did have a cut and his eyes had some bruising, the allegation that his eye had been “put out” is not accurate.
“He has both his eyes,” she said in a brief interview.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the charge language “means the victim received very serious injuries” and was taken from the penal code section for mayhem, which reads: “Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem.”
Times staff writer Joel Rubin contributed to this report.