UPDATE, SEPT. 29: A 27-year-old man has been arrested for a widely publicized fight with a 63- year-old man over movie theater seats in Pompano Beach, the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Jesse Montez Thorton II, 27, faces one count of aggravated battery with great bodily harm.
“BSO detectives worked this case for months,” BSO spokeswoman Claudinne Caro said in a news release. “The video and information about this callous attack received national and international media attention and generated leads, including an anonymous tip through Broward Crime Stoppers.”
Caro said detectives identified Thorton as the suspect in the attack and he was taken into custody Thursday with assistance from Fort Lauderdale police.
As of Friday morning, Thorton was being held at the Broward County Main Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond.
UPDATE: The man attacked at an AMC Theater in Florida earlier this month in a dispute over reserved seats has spoken out about the incident.
NBC Miami interviewed the unidentified patron, who said he suffered a broken nose in the fight.
“I couldn’t even get a defensive shot in,” the man told NBC Miami. “It happened so fast, he basically sucker-punched me is what he did.”
The 63-year-old victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said he and his wife purchased VIP tickets for Insidious: The Red Door at the AMC Pompano Theater in Florida on July 10. The deal includes advanced seat selection.
The man claims he politely asked the person occupying his reserved seats to move to another section. According to NBC Miami, he was rebuffed, so the victim started to look for a seat elsewhere while the aggressor “just kept staring.”
“As I’m walking away, he said ‘go run to your wife little boy,” the victim said. “I turned around and I said, ‘You know I’m not the one who’s being a little boy, you took my seats and you didn’t apologize or you didn’t say thank you and I let you keep them.’”
That’s when the physical fight started.
“He jumped up, he wanted to fight me, he backed me up, I fell over the stairs and as soon as I fell down the stairs, it was like a boxer being against the ropes, this guy just went to town on me,” the victim told the outlet.
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and received stitches, he said.
EARLIER: Florida detectives are searching for an attacker who beat a 63-year-old man who asked him to move from reserved seats into an adjacent space.
The attack happened on July 10 at an AMC Theater at 2315 N. Federal Highway in Pompano Beach, Florida, shortly before 10 PM. The movie the victim purchased tickets for was not identified.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office released video of the incident, The attacking suspect is shown violently shoving the elderly man up against a railing, then landed several hard blows to his face.
Police said the victim bought VIP tickets, which have assigned seats. When he entered the theater, he saw the suspect and a woman in his seats. Witnesses said he politely requested they move.
The suspect quickly became angry and hostile, police said.
Witnesses had to grab the assailant and pull him off the victim. The suspect and woman then fled the scene. The victim sustained severe injuries to his head and face and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Local Florida station WPEC-CBS12 posted footage of the incident (warning: graphic content):
The Florida incident mirrors one that happened last month in New Mexico.
New Mexico teenager Enrique Padilla, age 19, allegedly shot a man dead in a weekend dispute over reserved movie seats.
The dispute that sparked that shooting happened late on a Sunday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The alleged shooter has been captured.