An altercation involving several homeless men and a security guard at the El Capitan Hotel concluded with calls to police and paramedics. One homeless man was carted off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and ferried to the hospital.
The incident occurred around 1 p.m. in the parking lot area of the El Capitan Hotel in the 2300 block of Mission Street. Four men said a security guard approached them, where their possessions and a mattress were set up in the lot and adjacent to the driveway onto Mission, and demanded they leave.
Victor Juarez, one of the four homeless men, said he had been resting when the security guard came into the underpass and rousted him and his colleagues. When one man failed to respond, Juarez said the guard lifted that man up, slammed him into the pavement, and then tossed him to the sidewalk. Juarez said he knew the guard from prior incidents, claiming the guard harassed them at least twice before.
The injured man was known as Otonil by his friends, and appeared dazed as he was loaded into an ambulance.
One witness said he had been smoking near the area when he heard lots of yelling, then saw a pressure cooker fly out from the underpass connecting the lot and Mission Street. Then he saw Otonil also fly out of the underpass and land on the sidewalk.
It is unclear if the pressure cooker was thrown at the guard or, as the homeless men said, was tossed by the guard towards the sidewalk.
Nancy Pili Hernandez, an educator who works in the area, said she had been walking past the El Capitan when she saw the security guard picking up one of the men. She said she approached him and asked him to stop being aggressive. She said the guard began tossing the homeless men’s possessions onto the sidewalk following the physical altercation.
“I did see him be hella overly aggressive to someone who was passed out sleeping,” Hernandez said.
The security guard declined to comment.
Police said they were investigating the incident, and were seen loading the pressure cooker into the back of a squad car.