The victim said that he was looking at his phone while waiting for a bus at Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue around 1:45 p.m. when the attacker came up from behind and punched him, seemingly for no reason.
Footage from the scene shows the man winding up to sucker punch the 32-year-old U.S. Navy Veteran, who goes by Leo, as he waited at a bus stop, before simply walking back to his seat on the bench.
“I didn’t think he would attack,” Leo said while speaking with CBS reporter Tina Patel Wednesday morning. “He didn’t give any warning. If he did, I would either get to safety or retaliate, but I had no chance of that.”
A witness confronted the suspect after he knocked the veteran unconscious. The attacker then grabbed Leo, who was still unconscious, and handed him to the witness before saying “see, he’s fine.”
The witness then placed the victim onto the bench as the attacker walked away. The veteran began to regain consciousness when paramedics arrived.
Leo has no memory of the moments following the punch, though he’s extremely thankful for the Good Samaritan who stepped in to help him.
“I am so grateful for all the people that witnessed the incident and helped me up, and also called the paramedics and firefighters,” he continued.
He’s curious who hit him, and why they randomly targeted him. He’s unsure if the assault was a hate crime because he’s Asian, especially since the two didn’t share any contact prior to the incident.
“I was alone so it made me an easy target,” he said. “I was vulnerable because I was focused on the phone.”
The crew then transported the victim to the hospital where he was interviewed by police.
The Los Angeles Police Department took a battery report and began to look into the incident, searching for additional cameras in the area as well as witnesses who may have seen what took place.
Leo, who told Patel that he’s struggling with PTSD from his time in the Navy, and that as he works on not getting angry, he wants to focus his energy instead on catching the suspect.
He said that while he’s in a considerable amount of pain, he’s coming forward in hopes of revealing the identity of the man so no one else has to suffer like he is.