BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man with a history of mental illness was arrested on suspicion of punching a stranger's baby in the head so hard the child needed to go to the hospital Sunday afternoon, Dec. 16, according to police.
Daniel Joshua Bravo, 28, walked into a restaurant in the 200 block of East Holly Street at lunchtime, sat down at a table and started staring at a family visiting from Seattle: a father, a mother and their 4-month-old baby, Young said.
They felt uncomfortable, Young said, but finished their meal and didn't leave until after the man walked out.
The mother, 41, was cradling the baby in her arms when Bravo sprinted at them from behind and, still running, punched the baby in the head, Young said. The suspect used so much force the baby almost fell from the mother's arms, but she caught her child just in time.
The 37-year-old father and two witnesses chased down the suspect and detained him until officers arrived. According to police, after Bravo was arrested he said, "The devil made me hit the kid."
One witness of the assault told police he appeared "drugged out."
The baby was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital with head injuries. The infant was treated and then released, Young said.
"This is just an unconscionable act of violence," Young said. "I've never heard or seen anything like this in my 30 years of police experience."
Bravo was booked into jail for assault in the second degree, a class A felony. He has a well-documented history of mental illness, hallucinations and drug use.
He was convicted less than two weeks ago of one count of burglary after prosecutors said he broke into several Bellingham homes in September. Court records show he told victims he was "off (his) meds."
He pleaded guilty Dec. 6 and was released the same day because he had already served his three-month jail sentence.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2276.