There wasn’t much time to think.
Timothy Ratcliff was just sitting down for a late lunch with his girlfriend in Hollywood when, a few feet ahead of him, one of his customers was knocked out of his seat.
I saw it in slow motion when he hit it, Ratcliff said. I just got up. I didn’t think about it, and just started chasing it.
The unprovoked attack was caught on Aug. 1 on Ratcliffs security cameras, catching the owner of Shin Ramen suddenly springing into action and chasing after an assailant attacked one of his regular customers.
The victim, a 64-year-old man who had just paid his bill, fell from his chair under the punch and landed on the edge of the terrace in front of the restaurant. Ratcliff, who was in contact with the victim, said he suffered not only bruises to his face, but also two broken ribs from the fall.
The suspect grabbed the victims’ cell phone and wallet from the table, but Ratcliff gave chase seconds after the attack.
Video shows the suspect only arrived at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and North La Brea Avenue. There he took a wide punch to the face from Ratcliff, but the 42-year-old quickly wrapped his hands around the suspect and tackled him into the crosswalk of the busy intersection.
There, Ratcliff said, he held the suspect for about 10 minutes before firefighters and police arrived.
As I held him there he tried to bite me several times and, I warned him, don’t bite me, he said.
As he pinned down the man, Ratcliff’s girlfriend ran to the intersection and grabbed the cell phone and cash that had fallen to the ground. When the suspect continued to try to bite Ratcliff, she kicked him in the leg, trying to get him to stop.
Ratcliff, who has owned the restaurant along the bustling stretch of Hollywood Boulevard for eight years, said it wasn’t the first time he’s gone after someone who’s made the commercial corner unsafe. Once, someone who stole a few bottles from the nearby liquor store pointed one at Ratcliff just before tackling him as well.
I’m the neighborhood vigilante, that’s their nickname for me, he said of the neighboring shopkeepers and workers. I know most business and restaurant owners. My dentist is across the street, so we all know each other.
But the August 1 attack came as a surprise to Ratcliff, who said he also knew the suspect, a man who regularly hung out in the area, asking nearby restaurants for water or food after the rushes around lunch and dinner, and suspected Ratcliff was homeless. .
It’s not uncommon for homeless people to hang out along this stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. Ratcliff said he was trying to talk to those hanging out in the area. He usually asks them if they need help finding resources to help them get back on their feet, or if they need food or water that day. He asks them not to loiter past the businesses, but says he also tries to let them know he can help them if they want.
My goal is to talk to someone, offer help or, if you just need something right now because sometimes people just aren’t ready for help, a- he declared. If you need help, well help yourself. If you don’t mess around with my business, you’ll have my respect and help.
The attack, he said, caught him off guard because, he said, he had spoken to the suspect several times before. He had given the man free water and food, sometimes teriyaki, and there had been no signs that he was violent. Just five minutes before the attack, he asked the man, are you okay? before sitting down to lunch.
I did not expect it because in recent months he has been very cordial, he said.
Since the attack, Ratcliff has been on a cruise with his family and has tried to take some time off. Little did he know that in the meantime the video had started spreading widely on social media. When he returned on Sunday, he returned to a flurry of messages and congratulations for taking action.
On Tuesday, Ratcliff sat in the downtown courthouse to appear as a witness to the attack. His face is no longer bruised, he said, and he was happy to help prosecutors.
He received a subpoena earlier in the week, he said, but he would have been happy to intervene without one.
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