SANTA MONICA—A man was attacked by a group of 8 teenagers two of which have been charged with assault after they were caught beating a man with their skateboards on a Santa Monica E-Line Train.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, April 19, at around 11:24 a.m. It began as a confrontation on a westbound E-Line and escalated to an assault once the train arrived at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department arrived at the platform and summoned medics to treat the injured victim.
The victim who was later identified as Eric Lewis and multiple witnesses were able to describe the assailants and the direction they were heading. According to reports, the group of teenage boys were delaying the train by preventing the doors from closing. Many of the passengers were headed to work and pleaded with the boys to stop so they could make it to work on time.
The group of boys targeted Lewis. They began to taunt, harass and throw items at him. According to Lewis, he kept his head down and tried ignoring them. As the train made its last stop the boys exited. Lewis left the train through an emergency exit located in the opposite side of the train. When he got off the train he was hit in the back of the head and turned around a saw one of the boys swinging his skateboard.
“The first thing out of my mouth was ‘did you just hit me with your skateboard?’” Lewis said to Santa Monica Daily Press in an interview. He took his phone out and said he was going to call the cops then the group of boys started screaming and yelling at him. They tried taking Lewis’s phone away from him as he was trying to dial.
The group of boys beat Lewis with their fists, feet, and skateboards. One of the assailants was able to reach into the victim’s pocket and grabbed his phone. The group stopped and Lewis fled in the direction of the nearby Marriott Courtyard Hotel.
He found a security guard at the hotel and asked for help.
Lewis looked for his phone and work clothes that he left at the scene when one of the assailants met with him. This assailant was described as the “leader” of the group of teenagers. Lewis asked for his phone back when the suspect raised his hands with his skateboard and slammed it against the victim’s head which cracked his skull.
The group of teenagers ran away as Lewis sat on the sidewalk waiting for help.
Officers located the suspects and arrested them with no incident. The victim was able to identify them after he was shown some images.
Lewis was encouraged to go to the hospital by authorities but at the time was confused by their question. He was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica where he arrived at the emergency room around 12:30 p.m. He was suffering from a deep laceration to his scalp requiring eight staples, as well as a cracked rib, multiple abrasions on his back, arms and shoulders, and a concussion that he was told was the cause of his light sensitivity, dizziness, headaches, word comprehension and nausea.
An officer found Lewis’s phone later that day and it had been smashed to pieces.
Two suspects were taken to the police station, processed and released to their parents or guardians per county rules relates to youthful offenders.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed assault charges against two minors who officers said were seen striking the victim with their skateboards.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact SMPD Criminal Investigations during business hours at 310-458-8451.