A man was in custody Wednesday for allegedly repeatedly punching two women during a dispute with a downtown Los Angeles street vendor over the price of a hot dog.
Arka Oroojian, 30, of Sylmar turned himself in Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Station and was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the LAPD. He was being held on $90,000.
The incident, part of which was caught on cellphone video, remains under investigation.
Before Oroojian’s arrest, a witness came forward to dispute the circumstances that led up to the cellphone video that showed the man hitting the women.
Police had posted the video on the LAPD Twitter page and asked for the public’s help in finding the man with the message, “This guy brutally punched two women at a hotdog stand on Jan. 26 in the area of 6th & Spring. Someone knows him and we would like to be one of those people.”
The video of the attack has been widely circulated since the Saturday night altercation that sent the two women to a hospital.
“There’s two sides to every story and those two women started that,” a witness, identified only as Stewart, told CBS2.
He said the women called the man derogatory names before the scuffle began.
“They started punching on him first,” Stewart said. “Once they punched on him first, jumping on his back, then he defended himself by counterpunching these women and things like that. So the video caught only the second glimpse of the story.”
One of the women told NBC4 the assailant was arguing with a vendor over the $6 cost of a hot dog. When the confrontation escalated, another vendor offered the man a free hot dog, but the man continued arguing, prompting the two women to intervene.
“Me and my friend said something like, `Just leave,”’ the unidentified woman told the station.
The man can then be seen on the cellphone video slugging both women. They try to retaliate, prompting the man to punch them again, knocking both of them to the ground as the crowd gathered in the area reacts, but does not intervene.
The father of one of the women posted the video on Facebook and expressed outrage that nobody tried to help them.
“For a crowd of men to sit back and not only watch, but film two girls get beat on by a 6 (foot) 250 lb. guy. My family and I are disgusted to say the least,” the man wrote.
He also said once the fight ended and the women were on the ground, “NOBODY even tried to help them up or ask if they were OK. Instead, the people standing around laughed and cheered as if the sight of two small girls getting beat on by a huge 250 lb. man was a sight of entertainment. One of the people watching was a bouncer of the bar this occurred in front of.”
Anyone with information was asked to call Detective Gonzalez at (213) 996-1851, or after hours, (213) 486-6606.