A man was left beaten in the middle of the road after an attacker mistook him for police sketch of a child predator, the man said Friday.
Kevin Martin pleaded for help on social media after people have mistaken him — more than once — for the person drawn in a sketch released by Corona police.
“It could have been worse. I could have been shot,” Martin said.
Martin said the brutal attack happened around 11:15 p.m. Thursday near a Norco In N Out on Hamner Avenue.
He was inside a bar when he said a man approached him and asked him to have a chat outside.
When they got outside, another man pulled out a cellphone and showed him a composite sketch from Corona police of a child annoyance suspect.
“And he said.. That’s you isn’t it? And I go no that’s not me,” Martin said.
He said he had a feeling something bad was about to happen so he quickly grabbed his phone.
“I called 911, I put the phone in my pocket, and they heard everything,” he said.
He said one of the men got aggressive.
“He says he has a daughter of his own and he would kill people like me that do that. I knew right there I’m in trouble,” he said.
Martin alleged the man grabbed him by the neck, so he ran down Hamner Avenue to get away. But the attacker caught up to him at the center divider and started punching him, he said.
“And I said, you’re going to kill me if you hit me one more time the way you’re doing, you’re going to kill me,” Martin said.
Fortunately two witnesses scared the attacker off. Chris Ralph Arispe, 44, was arrested on suspicion of battery, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.
Corona police detectives confirmed Martin was ruled out as a suspect related to the sketch.
Martin posted a heartfelt message to his 70,000 followers on his Facebook page, pleading for help so he isn’t attacked again.
He also has this advice for others.
“Don’t be a vigilante,” he said.
NBCLA reached out to Arispe for comment, but he has not responded.