Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was brutally beaten at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, opened his eyes, tried to give a thumb's up with his right hand and even mouthed his last name, according to a message posted on the family's website.
Family members were told by hospital staff that Stow had an eventful Friday morning. He opened and closed his eyes on command and the milestones were witnessed by his nurse and a neurosurgeon. By the time family members arrived, Stow had been sedated and was resting.
"As always with these steps forward, we are aware that it's intermittent, and there will still be some steps back," the family said on the website. "Even before the surgery, when he was at his best, his response to commands were not consistent. We remain cautiously optimistic."
Stow underwent emergency surgery Monday for fluid buildup in his head that caused a seizure. Doctors have kept him under heavy sedation since the attack to prevent seizures.
This news comes at the same time that Los Angeles police said that a third person had been arrested in the case. Police had announced that they had arrested two new people Thursday night and that the LAPD no longer considered Giovanni Ramirez, who was initially flagged as the prime suspect, as responsible for the attack.
The two men arrested made incriminating statements that implicated them in the attack, a law enforcement official said Friday.
The two men arrested Thursday were identified as Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30. Both are from San Bernardino County and were booked into Los Angeles police jail on $500,000 bail. They were charged with mayhem, assault and battery. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office announced the felony charges Friday. Sanchez faces two additional misdemeanor counts of battery stemming from a separate incident the day of the March 31 attack.
The men's names were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
A third suspect, Dorene Sanchez, was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact to a felony, the Times reported. A neighbor told the newspaper that she is Louie Sanchez's sister. She was released after posting $50,000 bail, the newspaper reported.
The Times reported that both men have violent pasts. Norwood was convicted of inflicting bodily injury on a spouse or partner in 2006. Louie Sanchez spent 30 days in jail for the same crime in 2003. Sanchez was convicted of carrying a loaded firearm in 2004. In 2000, Norwood was found guilty of disturbing the peace in 2000, the newspaper reported, citing police records.
Neighbors, however, described both men as friendly, baseball-loving fathers, the newspaper reported.
Police say Stow, 42, of Santa Cruz, was attacked by two men outside Dodger Stadium after attending the March 31 season opener between the Giants and archrival Los Angeles Dodgers. The attack triggered an outpouring of support for Stow, including a total of $225,000 in reward money collected from fundraisers and offered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Dodgers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
Vigils were held for Stow, a paramedic and father of two, when he lay in a coma at a Los Angeles hospital. He was transported to a San Francisco hospital in May after doctors determined he was stable enough to be moved and be closer to his family in Northern California.
Stow suffered brain damage in the near-fatal assault and has been in a coma ever since. He experienced a setback in his recovery earlier this week when he underwent emergency brain surgery Monday after suffering a 30-second seizure. A hospital spokesman said Wednesday that Stow remains in serious condition.
The case attracted broad national attention and exposed how the Dodgers had cut back on stadium security. Ramirez was arrested after his parole officer spotted tattoos on his neck that matched witness descriptions of Stow's attackers.
Ramirez was never charged with the crime, but has remained in custody because of a parole violation after police found a gun in the house where he was staying when he was arrested May 22.
His mother, Soledad Gonzalez, said at a news conference Friday afternoon that she was unsure whether her son would pursue legal action against the LAPD, saying "that will be up to him."
Anthony Brooklier, one of Ramirez's attorneys, told ESPNLosAngeles.com Thursday night that he did not intend to pursue a civil case.
"I'm not interested in a civil case," Brooklier said. "You can't sue somebody everytime the police are wrong. That would mean that every time there's a not-guilty verdict they can sue the police."
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.