SAN DIEGO — A 27-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison after pushing an elderly man into a freight train at the Old Town Transit Station, prosecutors said Friday.
On New Year’s Day in 2022, Martin Andara was on his way to work in the morning at a Ralph’s supermarket in Pacific Beach exiting the trolley and walking toward a connecting bus at the station when Ryan Rukstelis suddenly attacked Andara for no reason, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a news release. Rukstelis could be seen on surveillance camera punching the 68-year-old man and then pushing him directly into a freight train that was moving past them.
Andara died from severe head trauma.
“This random, chilling attack took the life of a man who was loved by his family, friends and colleagues,” Stephan said. “It is a tragic case that was solved by excellent police work and brought to justice by the Elder Abuse Unit in our office.”
During the investigation, police found that Rukstelis was at a trolley station in Mission Valley trying to remove a broken front panel of a vending machine hours before his attack on Andara, prosecutors said. Rukstelis was arrested three days after the attack.
On June 30, Rukstelis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.