LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles-area man accused of punching a San Francisco 49ers fan outside an NFL playoff game, leading the victim to be placed in a coma, has been criminally charged.
Bryan Alexis Cifuentes, 33, is charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury in the incident Jan. 30, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday.
Cifuentes is alleged to have punched Daniel Luna, 40, outside SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles as the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams were playing in the NFC championship game.
Luna, an Oakland restaurant owner in town for the game, had a traumatic brain injury and was in a medically included coma until around a week ago, said Jonathan Davis, his attorney.
He is in a rehabilitation center in Northern California. Part of Luna’s skull had to be removed, and for now he must wear a helmet, Davis said Wednesday evening.
“He has made a terrific recovery given the prognosis that he had initially, but he has a long road ahead,” Davis said.
Cifuentes acted in self-defense, his attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, said Wednesday evening.
“He feels awful,” Rodriguez said. He said Cifuentes was excited about going to a football game and was attacked and that he never wanted or intended such a serious injury to occur.
Officials have said the two men got into a confrontation outside the stadium in Inglewood before Cifuentes punched Luna.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said at the time of the incident that surveillance video showed Luna mingling with a group of people in 49ers jerseys.
Luna pushed a man wearing a Rams jersey from behind, and when Luna turned to walk away, the man pushed Luna back, the mayor said after watching the video, adding that when Luna turned, the man punched him in the mouth and Luna fell and struck his head.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.