SAN FRANCISCO - The second suspect wanted in the brutal beating of a well-known community leader in San Francisco has been arrested after he returned to the very scene of the attack two weeks later, authorities said Thursday.
San Francisco police said 21-year-old Andrew Morelopena was arrested on Wednesday around 2:09 pm in the 1000 block of McAllister Street, just feet from where the July 15 attack happened outside Ella Hill Hutch Community Center.
The center's executive director James Spingola was the victim of the attack and recalled how he had been viciously beaten with a wooden plank after asking two men to leave the area.
Spingola told KTVU that he saw two homeless men, one half naked, in the backyard of the community center. He said he asked them to leave before the children at the center saw them.
"I went back there and told them you have to actually leave, you know, I said it's not okay for you to be back here," said Spingola, "You can't be behind a community center with your pants down with drugs on you."
Instead of the men complying, they allegedly attacked Spingola.
"He just smacked me with a 2x4 and I felt myself going out, and then I turned around and got smacked in the eyes," said Spingola.
A photo of Spingola showing the serious injuries to his eyes, face, and head was posted on a Gofundme website by friends hoping to help raise money for Spingola's medical treatment.
Rev. Amos Brown, President of the NAACP San Francisco Chapter, said churches and community centers in the neighborhood have been neglected by the city and left to deal with drug users and certain homeless people who don't respect the neighborhood.
"We deserve peace, not violence. We deserve respect, not neglect," said Rev. Brown, "I think it's time we work together. When the Black community succeeds, the whole community succeeds."
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins had already filed felony charges against the first suspect in the case, 24-year-old Nelson Martinez.
Martinez was arrested the same day of the July 15 attack.
He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and causing great bodily harm.
"We've got to do better about holding violent offenders accountable. We can't leave victims vulnerable without someone ensuring there is justice on the other end," said Jenkins.
The District Attorney added that while she wants to send a message to violent offenders, there needs to be more action by city and community partners.
"This is going to take a unified sort of approach with many city agencies working to provide people with housing," said Jenkins, "This is not going to be as simple as prosecuting them for crimes."
Spingola says this is not the first time he's had to ask people to leave or found drug users on the center's property.
He says he wants some action to protect children and residents in the community.
"It's happening all over San Francisco and at some point you have to say enough is enough. You know? At what point do we say enough is enough?"