A 22-year-old man was behind bars Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting and robbing a transient on a Fairmount Village-area street over the Labor Day weekend, leaving the victim near death.
San Diego police arrested Jorge Damian Rodriguez of City Heights about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday during a traffic stop in the 4500 block of Orange Avenue, about six blocks from the site of the crime, SDPD Lt. Mike Holden said.
Rodriguez is suspected of attacking Somphan Bangphraxay, 46, for unknown reasons in the roadway in the 3800 block of Highland Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday.
After knocking the homeless man to the ground, Rodriguez allegedly stole something from one of his pockets, then dragged him to the edge of the street and walked off, leaving him lying unconscious in the gutter.
Medics took Bangphraxay to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, where he was admitted in grave condition with blunt-force head trauma, Holden said. Though physicians soon concluded that Bangphraxay would not survive his injuries, he remained on life support Wednesday afternoon, the lieutenant said.
The motive for the assault remains unknown, and detectives are uncertain if the assailant used a weapon or possibly just his fists.
Holden declined to detail how police identified Rodriguez as the attacker, though he did say surveillance cameras captured part of the confrontation. The lieutenant also would not disclose what detectives believe was stolen from the victim.
Rodriguez was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of murder and robbery. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
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