Man suspected of assaulting nurse on Madrid Metro after argument over face masks arrested by police

The 19-year-old was arrested in the district of Villaverde after someone known to him reported his details to the authorities

The video of the assault recorded by a witness.

A man alleged to have assaulted a passenger on the Metro de Madrid underground system last Thursday was arrested on Monday afternoon. The suspect, who is aged 19, will face charges of assault given that his victim may have lost part of the vision in his eye due to the punch.

The incident reportedly occurred after the victim, a male nurse, asked the assailant to put on a face mask during a journey on a Metro train. In a video of the assault recorded by another passenger on the train, the assailant, wearing black, short pants and a pink cap, and carrying a backpack, is seen to punch the nurse in the face, who then falls to the ground and brings his hands up to his head.

The victim was wearing sunglasses at the time, which broke and injured his eye. What’s more, the suspect used a knuckle duster when dealing the blow, according to news agency EFE and television network La Sexta.

Images of the suspect's arrest, as supplied by the police.

The arrest took place in the Villaverde district of the Spanish capital, when the suspect was headed to his home – likely to collect items in order to be able to hide from the police in another location, the National Police said via a statement. The suspect had changed his hair color and had also hidden the rings in his ears to avoid being recognized.

The alleged assailant has Colombian nationality and a criminal record for offenses such as theft, according to police sources. He was also being sought by courts in Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and in Alicante.

The authorities were assisted in the search for the suspect by someone who is known to him. The police were approached by a person who stated that he knew the suspect, and provided his personal details. What’s more, investigators took statements from the two people who accompanied the suspect at the time of the assault.

After the suspect had assaulted the nurse, he said to his victim: “Asshole, have no doubts, I hope that you die.” He then left the train at a Metro station. The assault was also captured on the train’s CCTV system. The National Police called on members of the public to help identify the man.

The incident took place at around 10pm on Thursday night at the Alto del Arenal Metro station on Line 1 of the network. An ambulance crew stabilized the nurse, before taking him to the 12 de Octubre Hospital – which happens to be his place of work.

The victim underwent surgery on Monday, but it is not yet clear whether he has lost part or all of the sight in his injured eye.

According to current coronavirus regulations, it is still obligatory to wear a face mask on public transport in Spain, including platforms and stations. The mask rules have been relaxed somewhat in recent weeks, and wearing them outside is no longer obligatory provided that social distance can be maintained with other people.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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