A 12-year-old Black boy who was attacked by a man on a bus in Long Beach, California, last weekend said no one stepped in to help.
The Sept. 5 attack on the boy, who is not being identified, was unprovoked, authorities say. The Long Beach Police Department is investigating the situation.
“My son went to visit his grandmother right up the street right here on Atlantic,” Billy Brown, the boy’s father, told Fox 11. “He got on the 61 bus and when he got to Atlantic and Carson street, there was a Hispanic male that got on the bus around 40 years old and when he got on the bus, he sat next to my son.”
After residents provided tips about the suspect’s whereabouts, David Manuel Santana Garcia, 36, was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 8, and booked on suspicion of one count of child cruelty, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of unruly behavior on public transportation and one count of battery on public transportation.
A police spokesperson said the boy was riding the bus when Garcia began to strike him. “This guy just started hitting my son in the head like he was on UFC or something,” Brown told KABC.
The boy also told Fox 11 about how he tried to protect himself from the blows. “He was just mad and he started hitting me and stuff in the head. I tried to protect myself and I tried to block some of the hits, but I couldn’t block all of them,” he said.
Garcia also allegedly threw the boy against the inside of the bus, Brown said. Even though the bus was parked at the time, the boy said no one stepped in to help him. Brown expressed anger at the lack of intervention, telling KABC “I don’t care what kid that is. Someone has to intervene and I’m upset with the community right now.”
After attacking the boy, Garcia exited the bus near Carson Street and Atlantic Avenue. The incident was initially reported to police by the bus driver as an altercation between two males. The driver asked the boy if he needed help and the boy said no.
Long Beach Transit said in a statement, “The Bus Operator reported that a fight started on the bus between two males….The Bus Operator was asked by dispatch if the individual on the bus needed any assistance and the Operator stated that the individual indicated that he was okay.”
The boy rides the bus to school every day. “When my son goes to see his grandma up the street, I don’t expect him to be in no type of violence, Brown said.
Speaking to Fox 11, the boy explained, “I’ve never been in a situation with a grown man trying to hit me in my life. I remember when I was getting hit, I was like where’s the bus driver? There was only one dude who [after the attack] said, ‘Do you want to call the police or press charges?’ ”
After getting off at the bus stop to get to his grandmother’s house, the boy explained that he looked over his shoulder out of fear to make sure no one was following him.
At around 2 a.m., after the attack, Brown and his son went to the police station to file a report about the incident. Fire paramedics treated his injuries, including those on his mouth and lips.
Brown and his son ae grateful the man didn’t use a knife or gun during the attack, and want the assault to be investigated as a hate crime.
“He was the only Black passenger on there [the transit bus]. I just asked the people who are investigating to take this on as if it was a hate crime, as if any other entity or ethnicity is involved,” Brown said.
The boy is doing better, but is scared of riding the bus and Brown says he may not ride it anymore.