Police say 21-year-old Richmond resident Michael Villalobos was taken into custody late Wednesday night.
Earlier police passed out fliers with a sketch of the attacker, hoping someone would come forward with a tip.
Villalobos is accused of attacking Euvaldo Sisneros during his Tuesday afternoon walk. Police say the suspect came up from behind, kicked him to the ground and savagely beat him.
Richmond's police chief made an extraordinary appeal for help earlier in the day.
"We have no understanding of why he would be attacked in such a brutal, senseless and sadistic manner. and this attack is deeply disturbing to us, our investigators haven't seen an attack of this kind of brutality," said Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus.
Sisneros was still in critical condition at a local hospital Wednesday morning and police are not sure if he will survive his injuries, French said.
The attack happened at about 3:40 p.m. in the 2800 block of Humphrey Avenue as the victim was taking his afternoon walk.
Investigators were able to create a sketch of the suspect based on information from witnesses.
Bay City News contributed to this report.