Victim Testifies in Court after Being Randomly Attacked by Indio Gang Member


By Jaycee Horng

RIVERSIDE – Judge Dean Benjamini met with witnesses on Thursday morning to discuss the details, including the victim’s testimony, of Daniel Ariza Soto’s attack on a complete stranger.

A Riverside County man is being charged for assault on a person with great bodily injury, exhibition of a deadly weapon, and gang membership.

On August 23, 2017, Daniel Soto allegedly attacked a man in the parking lot of North Jackson Park around midnight. He had hit him twice before using a knife to slice his bottom lip in half. With a deep wound requiring multiple stitches, the victim went directly to JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio for treatment.

In the victim’s testimony, he claimed to have been waiting in the park for his friend late at night. While focusing on his phone and leaning against the driver’s door of his car, the defendant had suddenly appeared right in front of him. They did not know each other prior to this encounter.

According to the victim, the defendant had only asked him a few questions before he immediately struck. He spoke in an aggressive tone with a raised voice, as if he was in control of the situation. Soto asked the man, “Where are you from?” and, “What are you doing here?”

After he responded, the defendant told him what gang he was affiliated with. He showed him the three letters, SMG, but it was not recognized by the victim.

He then violently attacked with multiple punches while holding a knife. Soto had deeply cut the victim’s bottom lip, causing it to bleed and hang off.

When the defendant was seemingly frozen in shock at what he had done, the victim found an opening to escape. He then quickly went into the car, drove away, and called 911.

The victim agreed with Judge Benjamini that he was under great stress in the situation and stated that even years later the incident is still traumatic for him.

Soto is currently facing a total of 10 violations against the California Penal Code. The most significant charges include committing an assault, maliciously disfiguring a member of the body, drawing a deadly weapon, and participating in criminal street gang activity.

Jaycee is a second-year student at Ohlone College transferring to a UC in Fall 2021. She is majoring in Sociology and originally from the Bay Area.


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