Police say an assailant used a skateboard to knock a 74-year-old man unconscious at a Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada bus stop — the third attack on a senior RTC rider since December.
The incident happened on Feb. 13. A police report states the senior citizen had just exited a bus at a stop at Garces Street and Casino Center Boulevard at 7 p.m. when he was attacked by a man wielding a skateboard.
The victim was knocked unconscious by an assailant “swinging the skateboard in a baseball-type fashion,” a police report states.
An RTC security officer witnessed the attack, intervened and pepper sprayed the man with the skateboard. David Ordaz-Loera, 20, is facing a felony charge of battery of a protected person resulting in substantial bodily harm in the case.
“As (the security officer) made his way over, he observed Ordaz-Loera start striking (the victim) with a skateboard,” an arrest report states. The report goes on to say the victim was struck “at least four times, mostly to the face/head area.”
“It appeared the victim was knocked unconscious while standing up due to the strikes and fell to the ground, hitting his head,” police wrote in the arrest report for Ordaz-Loera.
Suspect says argument preceded fight
Police interviewed Ordaz-Loera after the assault. He claimed the victim started arguing with him, uttered an expletive and spit in his face.
“This enraged Ordaz-Loera, who stated he grabbed his skateboard and ‘jabbed’ (the victim) in the face/nose and then struck (him) seven to eight more times because the spit went into his mouth and he could get herpes,” the arrest report states.
Police then interviewed the victim at the hospital. The man suffered a broken nose and his left hand had turned purple due to the assault. The man said he heard someone talking to him, then was attacked.
“Due to his age and physical condition, it did not appear that he was able to reasonably protect himself,” police wrote.
Two other attacks on seniors have been reported on RTC property since December. Police said on Dec. 13, a military veteran in his 60s was riding a public bus when he was repeatedly punched in the head by another rider, causing the victim to lose his eye. A suspect in the case, Nathaniel Graves, was charged with mayhem, battery resulting in substantial bodily harm and abuse of an older person. Graves was 26 at the time of his arrest in January.
On Feb. 3, police said an unidentified suspect punched a 71-year-old man on a bus in the central valley. The incident happened at Charleston Boulevard and Third Street as the victim argued with a man and woman about a seat on the bus, police said. The victim suffered a brain bleed from the attack.
In the most serious attack the past year, 74-year-old Serge Fournier suffered what proved to be fatal injuries in March 2019 after authorities said a woman pushed him off an RTC bus. Cadesha Bishop, then 25, was charged with murder.
RTC spokeswoman Angela Castro said she could not discuss the specifics of the skateboard attack, but said in an emailed statement the RTC continues to work on improving security for all passengers.
‘Robust security plan’
“The RTC has a robust security plan in place to help ensure the safety of our passengers, including the deployment of more than 40 security officers who patrol our transit system at any given time,” Torres Castro said in the statement. “In the last year, we also upgraded our surveillance system to provide law enforcement with real-time access and added Transit Watch to our rideRTC app enabling passengers to report suspicious activity.”
Castro said the RTC currently spends $8 million on contracted security services and in 2020, “We plan on increasing that budget by more than 35 percent to $11 million.”
“While this is not enough to deploy officers on every route, this new contract allows us to use technology to know in real time where the officers are on the system and quickly adjust and redeploy them as needed throughout the system,” she said.
The RTC also plans to spend an additional $9.7 million to upgrade the security surveillance at RTC facilities and to modernize security cameras and software on buses.
The transit agency began working to have real-time camera feeds on RTC buses to improve security in 2017. That occurred after Metropolitan Police Department officers could not see a gunman barricaded inside an RTC bus during a lengthy standoff that brought traffic along the Strip to a halt on March 25 of that year.