Ignacio Franco Palomar, 36, of Oceano, had previously been charged with assault likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with great bodily injury in relation to the incident. But those charges are likely to be upgraded — to manslaughter or murder, according to police — when he appears in court again Monday.
On Oct. 2, Palomar struck Gregory Arthur Rustigian, 38, from behind, knocking Rustigian to the ground, where his head hit concrete, according to Arroyo Grande police.
According to court records, Rustigian was found about 30 feet from the front door of Ralph and Duane’s Bar. He was airlifted to Community Regional Hospital in Fresno after initially being taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.
Rustigian had been in a coma until Nov. 7, when he died as a result of the injuries he suffered a month earlier. On Oct. 20, doctors told Rustigian’s father to “prepare for the worst,” according to court records.
According to his obituary, Rustigian was a landscape designer who is survived by a daughter.
The Arroyo Grande Police Department did not release Rustigian’s name, but it is included in a criminal complaint against Palomar, filed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Palomar, who was arrested Oct. 31 in Fresno, had prior convictions from 2012 for threatening witnesses and possession of a controlled substance, as well as willful cruelty to a child in 2007, assault with a deadly weapon from 2003, and battery from 2001. According to the police, he is a documented gang member.
He is currently in custody without bail.
Less than a month before Rustigian was punched, 54-year-old San Miguel resident Alvaro Jaramillo Medrano died after a Sept. 7 fight outside a bar in San Miguel. Two prison guards, Travis Woolf, 36, and Sergio Aranda, 35, will appear in court Friday for a preliminary hearing on that case. They face voluntary manslaughter charges.