Suspect arrested in road-rage beating of elderly man

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EL CAJON, Calif. — Police have arrested a suspect nearly three months after a brutal parking lot attack on a 76-year-old man following a traffic dispute in El Cajon.

Ron Torncello

Ron Torncello after the beating

Detectives arrested Thomas Clayton Sikes, 56, for the attack at about 10 a.m. on April 30 in the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy at 572 Fletcher Parkway. Police identified Sikes after receiving tips from people who saw news reports about the incident.

Last month, police released surveillance video of the attack in hopes of identifying the attacker. The video showed a man walking over to Ron Torncello’s vehicle, talking briefly with Torncella and then punching him in the face. Torncello suffered major injuries requiring two reconstructive surgeries, according to El Cajon police and Crime Stoppers.

“He just opened the door and says, ‘You’re talking on your cellphone and I’ve got you on video.’ I told him I really didn’t care if he had me on video. That’s when he hauled off and hit me,” Torncello told Fox 5 in June.

Sikes, a resident of La Mesa, was booked into San Diego central jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, and assault causing great bodily injury.  He was being held on $35,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.



  • Fred

    The dumbass should not have been on his phone but he should not have been hit the way he was either.

  • ᙓᔕᙅO

    I wouldn't pay the bail Thomas, you'll need that money for the lawsuit against you you're about to pay.

  • Jeff Goldblum

    If everyone who still drives around like an idiot on their phone, completely oblivious to other human beings.. was punched in the face: You would see a lot of black eyes around town. People suck- generally speaking

  • Meg

    I don’t care if he was talking on his phone and the authorities need to add a charge of elder abuse to the list.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately I see lots of people still driving while on cell phone! ( admit it you do it too) Pisses me off but no reason to beat someone up!!! Both guys need to be locked up!

  • joshboardfox5

    They've done studies that show — talking on your cell phone is no different than talking on a Blue Tooth while you drive. I use the Blue Tooth, but…studies show that it's the distraction, not the fact that you only have one hand on the wheel. So, it's really not necessary for others to police who is or isn't on their cell phone. The cops will see and give them tickets. Unless they're driving horribly…then just get behind them and honk. I've found that works well. Now…if somebody throws a lit cigarette out of their car window — that's both a fire hazard and littering. Not sure why the cops don't pull over more people that do that and increase the fine; or pickup trucks that have trash flash out of the back.

    • joshboardfox5

      Also, another thing to consider (for anybody that felt the old guy deserved to be hit). The man doing the punching said, "I got you on video." Well…for him to get this on "video" that means HE was also using his cell phone (or video camera) to record this, which I'm guessing is even more dangerous than talking on your phone while driving. That's talking while using a camera, and not having your eyes even on the road, but on another vehicle so you can record it!!!!!

  • Denise

    Great point joshboardfox! I really don’t see how anyone could think the man deserved to be hit. Does the guy follow and then punch teenage girls in the face? He is nothing but a bully, and a coward. What if that was your elderly father or grandfather? So glad he got caught. What a P.O.S!!

  • Denise

    Ron…what a stupid comment that was…would you feel the same way if it was your dad or grandpa? Grow up…

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