Police on Friday asked for the public's help to find the attacker of a 57-year-old good Samaritan who died after he was assaulted while he tried to protect a young child at a Hollywood McDonald's, officials said.
Gabriel Ortega was at a restaurant on the 1400 block of Vine Street abound 9:30 p.m. on June 18 when he saw a man yelling at a 3-year-old boy.
The attacker reportedly clenched his fist and walked toward the child. Ortega then stepped in front of the child to act as a shield and told the attacker to leave the child alone, police said.
"Mr. Ortega, good Samaritan, trying to protect this child from this assailant stepped in front of him to prevent the perceived assault on the child, and (he) was assaulted by the assailant," LAPD Detective Steven Katz said.
The man then started punching Ortega before running away, officials said.
"The child was there with his family, but Mr. Ortega took it upon himself to prevent this aggressive action to the child," Katz said.
Ortega checked himself into the hospital for headaches and nausea on June 21, three days after the attack. He died July 14 as a result of his injures from the fight, and the coroner said his cause of death was blunt force trauma.
"There's a lot of crimes out here, but just for him to be brave enough to save a child, you know, some people would just let it happen," Hollywood resident Alia Muhammad said.
A sketch of the attacker was expected to be released next week. Anyone with information should called LAPD detectives at 213-382-9470.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Ortega was attacked July 14. Ortega was attacked June 18 and died July 14.