SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The San Francisco Police Department released surveillance video late Friday afternoon of a man being brutally assaulted after entering a vehicle which he thought was his Lyft ride.
The incident happened on September 8 around 11:30 p.m. Police called it an aggravated assault.
The victim, 39-year-old Christopher Matthews, was waiting for his Lyft to arrive at the corner of First and Howard with his wife Rebecca. When a white four-door sedan pulled up at the corner, Matthews opened the passenger door, prompting the driver of the vehicle to get out and sucker punch him.
After the punch, Matthews fell backwards, where the back of his head hit the pavement hard. He was knocked unconscious and was bleeding from his ear, nose and the back of his head.
“The victim is fighting for his life,” said Grace Gatpandan of the SFPD.
“One person had come over and told me to life his head, so that he would not choke on his own blood–to lift it and turn it,” said Rebecca Matthews.
Matthews was sent to Alta Bates hospital in Oakland and is still recovering from traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack and subsequent fall.
“There was bleeding in the frontal lobes of his brain, as well as bleeding in the brain stem, which they described as the worst case scenario,” said Rebecca.
The suspect was described as an Asian man in his early 30’s who is approximately six feet tall with a buzz cut.
In addition to being a white four-door sedan, the suspect’s vehicle was shown to have a distinctive black roof and silver rims.
SFPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating the suspect.
Matthews is a San Jose State graduate and a little league coach. He awoke in the hospital on Friday night. But his wife doesn’t know how much he will recover from the attack.
“Will I be able to ever leave my husband with the kids alone? I don’t know. Will I be able to let him drive and not worry? I don’t know,” said Rebecca.
She also had a message for her husband’s attacker.
“I don’t want him to harm anyone else and I don’t want him to do this to another family.”
A GoFundMe page was made for Matthews and has raised over $28,000 so far.