A Cuban refugee with a history of mental illness was charged Wednesday with punching a woman, hitting her 2-month-old boy and slamming him to the ground.
Van Nuys Municipal Court Commissioner Patricia Gorner Schwartz set bail at $350,000 for Armando Cordero, 35, of Glendale, rejecting a prosecutor's plea that no bond be allowed. Cordero is charged with two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
"I do not want him out," Deputy Dist. Atty. Andrew W. Diamond said. "He attacked the most vulnerable people possible--a mother and child."
Cordero stopped passers-by Saturday when he stood in the street staring at the sky near the intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way, according to a police report.
Soon after two men escorted him to the sidewalk, Cordero grabbed the baby from the arms of his mother, Mercedes Enrique, the report states. Cordero held the baby by one arm, punched him in the head and on his body and threw him to the ground, where he landed on his head, according to the report. Cordero then punched the mother in the stomach before being subdued by witnesses, the report states.
The baby suffered a strained shoulder and a six-inch bruise on his forehead. Both the baby and mother were treated and released at a local hospital.
When police arrested Cordova, he was carrying a letter stating that he had been diagnosed in Miami as having mental problems.
Juan F. Ortiz, a psychiatrist at the Miami Mental Health Center, said Cordero had been treated at the center and had been hospitalized for mental problems in Cuba before coming to the United States in 1980.
Police originally blamed the attack on an overdose of the drug phencyclidine hydrochloride, also known as PCP.