Ontario PD’s Investigation Into March 4 Beating Death Yet Ongoing

The beating death of a man that took place last month just outside the Circle K store at the southwest corner of Holt Boulevard and Vineyard Avenue is still being investigated by the Ontario Police Department’s homicide division.
The beating that was administered to Justin Brown, 36, in which he sustained injuries including head and thorax trauma which apparently led to his death, occurred as the result of either Brown’s theft, or a misunderstanding concerning the ownership, of a cell phone charger. The incident escalated when other customers at the market sought to detain Brown out of a belief that he was fleeing the premises in the aftermath of a suspected theft.
According to information available to the Sentinel, Brown came into the Circle K at 1850 East Holt Boulevard sometime around 12 noon on March 4, either before or after he had gone to visit his then-infirm grandmother, who lives nearby. Brown may have had a cellphone charger with him when he entered the store, and may have used it in an effort to charge his phone while he was in the store.
An employee of the store had an exchange with Brown relating to the cellphone charger, at which point Brown exited the store. Several customers, in response to to the store employee’s shouts, pursued Brown out of the store and attempted to prevent him from leaving.
It was at that point that Brown sustained the injuries believed to have been a proximate cause of his death. At 12:36 p.m., an ambulance was summoned and Brown was transported to to San Antonio Hospital in Upland.
According to a family member, Brown was “flatlining the whole time until he got to the hospital.”
Brown was placed on life support at the hospital but expired some time later.
Detective Fred Alvarez with the Ontario Police Department said he was able to provide only limited information about the case because “the investigation is still ongoing.”
The matter was clouded, Alvarez said, by the events leading up to the fatal encounter. There were statements to indicate, Alvarez said, that what preceded the assault on Brown was “basically a robbery occurring, involving a cell phone charger.” He said Brown “got into a physical confrontation with the clerk, and tried to run out.”
Thereafter, Alvarez said there transpired “an altercation’ which led to Brown’s fatal injuries.
Alvarez indicated that the responding police units did not arrive until the incident had concluded and the ambulance was either at the scene or en route.
Alvarez said the investigation was incomplete and would remain so until the coroner’s report, complete with an autopsy, was provided to the department.
Alvarez did not say whether there was video footage of the assault or the events leading up to it, and he did not disclose whether the department had obtained the security video from the Circle K.
-Mark Gutglueck

Leave a Reply