MIAMI, Fla. – A 74-year-old man brutally beaten in what investigators said was a random attack last September on Miami’s Metromover isn’t the same person, according to his son.
“This event changed our lives forever,” said Christian Fernández, telling Local 10 News that his father, Eduardo Fernández, is a shell of his former self.
“He’s another person,” Christian said.
He said his father was once vibrant — that he used to drive, ride his bicycle, and go to work. Eduardo Fernández boarded a Miami Metromover train near the Adrienne Arsht Center on a Sunday morning when he was attacked.
It happened just weeks after a woman was assaulted on the same transit system.
Cameras captured a man beating Eduardo Fernández mercilessly onboard the train. He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center with serious injuries.
“In two minutes our lives changed big time,” Christian said, adding that most of the physical scars have healed, but many invisible ones have surfaced. His father is now partially blind, he has brain damage and memory loss.
“He’s spacey. When we’re together as a family, I’m like, ‘You, here?’ And he says, ‘yes’ but he doesn’t remember,” Christian said.
Christian said his father is now crippled with fear, too.
Attorneys representing Eduardo filed a lawsuit against Allied Universal, the company responsible for security on the Metromover. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
Robert Lee Ribbs, 62, was arrested for the attack. Investigators at the time reported that Ribbs was homeless.
Christian said he hopes Ribbs never gets a chance to hurt anyone else again and that he will be “behind bars for a long time.”
The trial for Ribbs is set to begin Monday.
Local 10 News asked Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) what changes, if any, were made in the wake of the attacks last year. A spokesperson said they have been coordinating with law enforcement, expanding surveillance video and live feeds and have contracted additional security officers for transit routes.
In a statement, DTPW said:
“Safety and Security remains our number one priority. The Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) has taken significant steps to improve security on Metromover and Metrorail, both at stations and on vehicles, to ensure the safety of our riders. DTPW has worked to closely coordinate with our partners at Miami-Dade Police Department and City of Miami Police. . . Additionally, since last year, DTPW has maintained an active ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign, including messaging at stations and on vehicles encouraging Transit riders to report suspicious activities on vehicles and at facilities, which can be done through the Go Miami-Dade app, Transit Watch app, and other means.”