Old Town

Court Postponed for Suspect Accused of Pushing Man Into Trolley

SDPD said 26-year-old Ryan Michael Rukstelis shoved the victim toward the moving trolley without provocation

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The arraignment for a man accused of pushing another man into a moving trolley in Old Town as the train entered the station was postponed Thursday.

Ryan Michael Rukstelis, 26, is now scheduled to appear in court on Friday to face a murder charge.

NBC 7's Omari Fleming is at the San Diego Police headquarters after they released new details on how they were able to track down the man suspected of pushing a Santee man to his death in front of a trolley on New Year's Day.

Rukstelis was arrested earlier this week in connection to the murder of 68-year-old Santee resident Martin Andara, the department said. The victim had just gotten off a southbound trolley at the Old Town Transit Center Saturday morning when he was killed.

Authorities said Rukstelis, who is apparently an unsheltered resident, exited the same trolley as Andara and pushed him into the trolley without provocation. He then left the scene and fled on foot, police said.

Family, friends, colleagues and customers of Andara gathered at the Old Town Transit Center to honor his life, not far from where he was tragically killed.

Andara’s son told NBC 7, he was a father figure to so many. Even though he had three biological children, he raised many more.

Colleagues of Andara said he worked at a Ralph’s in the sports arena area for seven years.

His family told NBC 7, he was on his way to work on New Year’s Day the day he died. They do not believe Andara knew the suspect, Ryan Rukselis.

San Diego law enforcement said investigators used MTS surveillance footage to identify Rukstelis as the culprit behind the New Year’s Day killing. SDPD Chief David Nisleit cited Rukstelis’ arrest as an example of why he believes the department should be able to access the city’s street light cameras.

“Tech can be leveraged to solve violent crime. In this case, an unprovoked senseless homicide,” Nisleit said.

It is unclear if Rukstelis has a legal representative who can speak on his behalf. He is due in court on Thursday.

Initial reports said that the victim had been pushed in front of the train, when, in fact, he was pushed into the side of the train, sustaining fatal injuries. — Ed.

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