Street vendor attacked in Madera shares his story

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Arturo Felix Ventura makes a living as a street vendor in Madera, well known in the community for his cooked corn, called elote.

But an average day at work last Saturday took a turn for the worse.

Around 2 pm, Ventura says an intoxicated customer was unhappy with the corn he bought.

"He started complaining about the corn saying it was raw, it was too tough, but he was already eating it," says Felix Ventura.

Surveillance video shows the man walking up to Ventura, then beating him to the ground.

"I feel a lot of pain in my wrist, I can't move it, I also feel a lot of pain on my right side where my ribs are," says Felix Ventura.

The video is angering the Madera community, who only had nice things to say about the friendly vendor.

"To see somebody who's trying to provide for his family, it makes it hard for any one of us out here trying to make ends meet," says resident Juan Rodriguez.

Officers found Felix Ventura with his face covered in blood after the suspect took off.

"A random act of violence," is how Madera Police Sergeant Matthew McCombs categorizes the crime. "We don't understand that. Why does that happen? Why does somebody decide they need to hurt somebody else in such a horrible way? Blows to the face with a fist and kicks to the face until the person was on the ground and rendered unconscious."

But that same weekend, an officer conducting a routine traffic stop recognized the car from the surveillance video. The officer later connected the driver to the man they've been looking for in the surveillance video.

They identified him as 20-year-old Ivan Ruiz.

Officers say they were able to get in contact with Ruiz and he turned himself in Friday morning, almost one week after his alleged intoxicated attack.

Ruiz has been booked into the Madera County Jail on felony assault charges.

Felix Ventura says he's still hurting from the attack, and not only physically, but financially.

He's been out of work since the attack with no source of income. It's income he sends to his children in Mexico.

Felix Ventura said, "If (Ruiz) was here right now I would ask him, 'What was your intention? Why would you do this?'"

Felix Ventura doesn't know when he'll be able to go back to work. He says his cart is too heavy to push with his bike with his injuries, but he's hoping it will be soon.
Related topics:
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.