Man arrested after allegedly attacking cop while wearing Jesus costume

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SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of donning a Jesus Christ costume and attacking a police officer unprovoked on Halloween has been arrested in Idaho and will be extradited to San Diego, authorities said Wednesday.

The attack happened outside the bar Atomic around 1 a.m. on Nov. 1, after a night of Halloween partying in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Police say officers were breaking up a large fight and trying to keep a drunk man from hitting a woman when the 24-year-old man approached the scrum wearing the Jesus costume. The man yelled "anti-police rhetoric" and ambushed the officer, either punching him or hitting him in the face with his elbow, according to San Diego Police Department.

"The attack was entirely unprovoked, based on the statements of several independent civilian witnesses," SDPD said.

The costumed attacker ran off, leaving the officer "significantly dazed" and with a cut that required stitches.

Surveillance video led police to identify the attacker as San Diego resident Eric Van Vleet, and they issued a nationwide warrant for charges related to battering and injuring an officer.

On Nov. 5, Van Vleet was tracked down and arrested in Cassia County Idaho. He will be extradited back to San Diego to face the charges, SDPD said.

"The San Diego Police Department’s mission is to ensure the safety of everyone and to ensure justice for those who would assault anyone, let alone a uniformed police officer in the performance of their official duties, rendering aid to a woman pending violent assault," the department said in a statement.

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