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Alleged Gang Member Charged With Assault in Venice Attack on Homeless Man

Apolinar Celestino Lopez allegedly beat the man with a folding chair and a pipe on Dec. 13.

By City News Service

An alleged gang member is facing a felony assault charge for allegedly attacking a homeless man with a folding chair and a pipe, the District Attorney's Office announced today.

Apolinar Celestino Lopez, 31, is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon. The complaint includes special gang and deadly weapons allegations.

The attack -- captured on video and distributed by police during the investigation of the crime -- occurred about 4 a.m. on Dec. 13 near Ocean Front Walk and Horizon Avenue in Venice.

The victim suffered a broken arm, as well as a head injury, according to police, who said the attack was unprovoked.

“Although the victim has been homeless at times, we don't believe (the motivation) is an attack on a homeless person,” Los Angeles police Capt. Brian Johnson said when Lopez was arrested.

The two men knew each other and had some sort of dispute, according to Johnson.

Lopez, who posted $155,000 bail following his Jan. 5 arrest, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at the Airport Courthouse.

Prosecutors said he has two prior felony convictions for possession for sale of cocaine base. If convicted as charged, he faces up to 11 years in prison.

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