Assault of 49ers Fan Outside of SoFi Stadium Under Investigation

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
February 3, 2022 Updated: February 3, 2022

INGLEWOOD, Calif.—Law enforcement is investigating the apparent assault of a San Francisco 49ers fan outside of Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium after the Jan. 30 playoff game of the National Football Conference (NFC).

Oakland resident Daniel Luna, 40, was found outside of SoFi Stadium with assault wounds to his face and torso, law enforcement officials reported on Feb. 2.

Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics were called to the scene around 4 p.m. on Sunday—just after the game began at 3:40 p.m.—and Luna was taken to Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, where he was put into a medically-induced coma.

When Luna was found, he was wearing a 49ers jersey, Inglewood Police Department Lt. Geoffrey Meeks told the Los Angeles Times.

Luna, who owns a Peruvian restaurant in Oakland, traveled to Inglewood for the NFC championship game alone after friends who were to go together canceled the trip.

Luna’s friend Vernon Hill told the Los Angeles Times that Luna still had his watch, cell phone, and wallet when he was found, suggesting that robbery was unlikely the motive.

However, the police still could not confirm details of what led to the attack and “[has] not come across any information” indicating that Luna was targeted for being a 49ers fan, according to Meeks.

Hill said he was worried about other sports fans’ safety, as SoFi Stadium will host the Superbowl LVI in less than two weeks.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” he said.

In response to the incident, the San Francisco team issued a statement “condemning all violence” on Feb. 3.

“What happened to Daniel Luna is reprehensible, and we strongly condemn all violence,” the 49ers’ statement read. “We know local authorities are conducting a full investigation and we’re here to support them however we can. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mr. Luna, his family, friends, and the medical team providing him care.”

A SoFi Stadium spokesperson said the entertainment venue is working with law enforcement in their investigation.

“We are aware and saddened by the incident,” the statement read. “Our thoughts are with Mr. Luna’s friends and family during this difficult time.”

This comes after a decades-long rivalry between Los Angeles and San Francisco sports teams and their fans.

In 2011, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow took a beating from two LA Dodgers fans outside Dodger Stadium that left him with permanent brain damage.

The two men, Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez, pleaded guilty for the unprovoked attack, with Norwood receiving a four-year prison sentence for one assault count and Sanchez receiving eight years for one count of mayhem.

Another Superbowl safety concern is human trafficking, as traffickers often use major events as a cover to transport victims.

Homeland Security Investigation officials said they have been working for more than a year to develop plans to stop trafficking at this year’s Super Bowl.

According to a Feb. 3 statement, their plan includes educating local industries, such as hotels, transportation, and hospitality, on how to recognize indicators of human trafficking.

The investigative unit will “target human traffickers, those selling fake merchandise and anyone else threatening public safety,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Eddy Wang in the statement. “HSI, in cooperation with Inglewood Police and our other partners, will be out in full force at hotels, swap meets, pop-up stands, and other locations where this illegal activity takes place.”

In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be present at the stadium to help combat trafficking. LAPD officers also met with several local organizations on Feb. 3 to discuss how to combat the dangers of human trafficking.

A spokesperson for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, as well as Inglewood Police Lt. Geoffrey Meeks, did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline.