MIAMI – A man was arrested Monday, a day after he allegedly beat a 73-year-old man on the Metromover near the Adrienne Arsht Center, authorities said.
Robert Lee Ribbs, 62, who is homeless, faces charges of strong-arm robbery, aggravated battery and battery on a person 65 or older.
According to his arrest report, Ribbs waited until a security guard exited the train before he lunged at the victim, Eduardo Fernandez, and began to kick and punch him throughout the face and body. He also reached into the victim’s pocket and stole $30 in cash, authorities said.
Fernandez’s son told Local 10 News that his father was on the way to work as a parking valet around 6 a.m. Sunday when the attack occurred.
Fernandez suffered several broken bones and internal bleeding and is scheduled for surgery Friday. He is expected to remain in the hospital for at least two weeks.
According to the arrest report, Ribbs confessed to beating Fernandez, and when approached by officers said, “Hey, man, I know what this is about. That old man called me a n*****.”
Police, however, said the incident was unprovoked.
MDPD arrested the suspect (pictured) who is accused of being involved in a case of aggravated battery on the Metromover. He gave a full confession.— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) September 22, 2020
Miami PD is collaborating with the County to create a safe and protected environment for all our residents. pic.twitter.com/05BuaUbpIQ
“We’re just really disappointed — the fact that someone would do that to an innocent man,” Fernandez’s granddaughter, Camila Fernandez, said.
Fernandez said she’s grateful her grandfather is alive and hopes this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help with Fernandez’s medical expenses.
According to authorities, surveillance video captured another unprovoked attack on a woman who got onto the Metromover in Brickell.
In that case, Joshua King, 25, was arrested and accused of attacking three people on the Metromover on the same day.
King has since been released on bond.
“To this extent, the Miami Police Department will be deploying additional resources throughout the Metrorail/Metromover system within our jurisdiction, both uniformed and in an undercover capacity in order to increase the safety of our residents and the system’s riders,” Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said.
Miami-Dade’s Transportation Director Alice Bravo said the number of security guards riding the trains and stationed on the platforms will be doubled.
She said the county is also looking to deploy artificial intelligence to help monitor its 1,200 surveillance cameras.
“So that, when something like this is occurring, it’s detected instantly, and an alarm goes off,” she said. “We want to make sure that there’s a presence so no one thinks they can do something like this on our Metromover system again.”