Earlier this week, a month-old camera phone video was posted to YouTube that, at first, seemed like it would make for a light-hearted viral video that could make a crazy San Francisco hippie an overnight Internet star. But then you could see that the hippie in question was completely naked and physically attacking women in a San Fran BART station and the situation went from “Someone record him” to “Someone, anyone, for the love of God, TAZE HIM!”
Calling the video tense is an understatement, as you first watch the man attack a random woman, who responds by dropping all of her belongings and running for dear life, and then perform admittedly impressive acrobatic and gymnastic moves before going back to attacking people for no good reason.
Fortunately, as the video reveals, a female BART agent was able to get the terrified woman into her booth to keep her safe while the man continued to scare strangers. In all, it took seven minutes for the BART police to finally arrive and apprehend the man, and now the San Francisco Gate has the scoop on his identity.
The man was identified by BART police as 24-year-old Yeiner Garizabalo. Friends said Tuesday he goes by Yeiner Perez and is a dedicated acrobat and performer. The episode, they said, was strongly out of character.
“He’s been through a lot of stress — he seems to have been having a breakdown,” said Slim Chance, who leads the Berkeley circus troupe ClownSnotBombs. Perez was a member from January to early May. “That seems to be the tip of it right there. I just can’t tell you anything more because I don’t really know what his state is. It’s not at all like his normal character.”
Chance said Perez, normally a “workaholic acrobat,” stopped showing up to the group’s practices several days before the episode.
“I don’t think it was anything with drugs,” Chance said. “I don’t know. We’re thinking he may have even had a stroke sometime last year. We’ve been trying to piece it together ourselves.”
It’s worth noting that BART officials told the Gate that the maintenance worker who put himself in harm’s way to stop Perez from attacking people was rewarded with a paid day off and dinner on them.
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