TUSTIN, Calif. (KTLA) — A 44-year-old man accused of punching two medical assistants at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in California and later groping a nurse who was providing him medical care has been charged with misdemeanor battery and resisting arrest.
On Dec. 30, Thomas Apollo of Poway was asked to leave the Families Together clinic in Tustin after he refused to wear a mask, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Clinic employees said he started acting erratically, calling the clinic workers “murderers” and using expletives toward employees who asked him to put on a mask or go back outside.
He is accused of punching one of the medical assistants five times and another medical assistant twice. Several bystanders pinned Apollo down until police arrived.
“We just said, ‘Please sir, calm down, put your mask on’ and ‘we are just doing our jobs,’ and then suddenly he just started punching,” said Alexander Rossel, CEO of Families Together of Orange County. “It can happen again. My staff is afraid.”
Apollo then allegedly refused to follow commands given by Tustin police, who ultimately used a taser to subdue him so that he could be handcuffed.
Then at O.C. Global Medical Center, Apollo is accused of grabbing a nurse’s finger and bending it and groping her breast while she was treating him for minor cuts and scrapes.
“Instead of being treated with the same compassion and respect in which they treat their patients, these health care workers were punched in the face and physically assaulted for just trying to do their jobs,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Violence of any kind will not be tolerated and we will hold this individual accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Apollo has been charged with one misdemeanor count of battery on a nurse, two misdemeanor counts of battery and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, the DA’s office said Tuesday.
He faces a maximum sentence of three years in the Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts.
Apollo is scheduled to be arraigned at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on March 30.