Palos Verdes Estates man charged with punching Mets fan in Dodger Stadium parking lot
A 27-year-old bartender from Palos Verdes Estates was charged Thursday with punching a New York Mets fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, knocking him unconscious and causing him to hit his head on the ground, authorities said.Michael Rae Papayans, who also was arrested along with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter during a January fight in a Florida bar, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of the Dodger Stadium attack Oct. 9.The confrontation in Lot L occurred shortly after the Mets beat the Dodgers 2-1 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. According to prosecutors, Papayans’ mother allegedly confronted four Mets fans walking to their car. One man in the group was wearing Mets attire.“The woman allegedly yelled epithets shortly before her son, Michael Rae Papayans, joined in a verbal dispute with the group,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The dispute escalated when the son allegedly punched a 50-year-old male in the head, knocking him unconscious. As the victim fell to the ground, he hit his head on the pavement, causing him to sustain serious head injuries.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Calls to the Papayans residence on Paseo del Mar were not returned.Papayans played baseball when he was a student at Rolling Hills Prep in San Pedro. According to social media posts, he appears to be engaged to Carter’s sister-in-law, Alexandra Kitt. He proposed to her on Christmas Day.The January arrests of Carter and Papayans in Key West, Florida, stemmed from a fight that erupted at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. A police report said Papayans had blood on his hands, face and knees.According to the report, the two men entered the bar heavily intoxicated and a bartender refused to serve them. Carter and Papayans became agitated and aggressive toward the bartender, prompting bouncers to tell them to leave. Carter allegedly tried to choke a bouncer and Papayans struck a bouncer on the chin with his head, the police report said.Papayans was captured on a police bodycam video saying, “I did not do anything. I was trying to get my friend to stop and they tackled me like they were f—ing Navy SEALs or something.” The video was posted on celebrity website TMZ.The Oct. 9 attack was reminiscent of the March 31, 2011, assault of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, who suffered permanent brain damage following an attack in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.Two men pleaded guilty to attacking Stow and were sentenced to state prison. The prosecutor on that case, Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee, was assigned to the Papayans case.The Stow attack raised questions about security at Dodger Stadium. Stow sued the team and was awarded $18 million. Papayans’ mother then allegedly kicked the man in the back while he was on the ground.Four days later, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck asked for the public’s help in finding the assailants.“We believe it is a son and mother who are responsible for this assault,” he said.An investigation by LAPD robbery-assault detectives led to Papayans, who was taken into custody Feb. 11. He was released on bail the following day. Prosecutors charged Papayans with one felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury with an allegation that he caused great bodily injury. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 11 in downtown Los Angeles. Prosecutors will ask a judge to set bail at $60,000.The mother’s case was referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for possible misdemeanor charges.