LOS ANGELES - California firefighters helped police track down a homeless man accused of pushing a stranger in front of a panel truck Wednesday.
NBC Los Angeles reported that the incident happened around 10 a.m. Wednesday as the assailant, who has not been identified publicly, sat outside a café downtown. Surveillance footage from a neighboring business shows the brazen attack.
The homeless man, wearing a bright lime green jacket, sits on a chair outside the café, watching pedestrians walk by. As a woman walks in front of him, he pretends to lunge toward her. He and the woman exchange words as she walks around him and continues on her way.
Just seconds later, a man comes into the camera’s view from the opposite direction. As he walks by the café, the assailant makes the same lunging move as before, but that time, jumps up and shoves the man in the path of an oncoming truck.
The truck driver slams on the brakes, but the victim is pinned under the front left wheel. His attacker squats briefly to look at him, then calmly walks away with his hands in his pockets.
The truck driver starts to get out of his truck, but bystanders who have rushed to the victim’s aid wave him back inside to reverse the wheel off the victim, who is writhing in pain.
Watch the surveillance footage below, courtesy of KGUN9 in Tuscon, Arizona.
Police officials told Los Angeles news stations that the victim was left in critical condition, suffering broken bones and a collapsed lung.
ABC7 reported that firefighters saw the station’s report on the attack that evening. They recognized the suspect a short time later by his jacket.
“It was definitely the bright neon rain jacket and the baggy pants, and just the demeanor the guy had,” one firefighter, Austen Johnson, told ABC7.
The firefighters called police and the man, who was described as combative, was taken into custody. He did not have identification on him, the news station said.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s central division announced the arrest on social media.
“Earlier, @ABC7 aired a clip of an individual pushing a passerby underneath a panel truck,” the post read. “Thanks to our partners @LAFD he is now in custody. Alert fire fighters observed him walking in the #DTLA area and called for us to respond, where he was arrested.”
He is expected to be charged with attempted murder, police officials told ABC7.