Orange County Sheriff’s investigators were combing through multiple videos from phones and security cameras Wednesday to determine if more arrests were warranted in Friday’s beating of three U.S. Marines near the San Clemente Pier.
Investigators have so far booked four boys and one girl, all teens, into Juvenile Hall on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Woodroof said. San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan had said earlier that others were arrested, but that was a mistake, Woodroof said.
Deputies were dispatched to the pier at 9:50 p.m. Friday, where they immediately found two of the men beaten, and later tracked down a third Marine who was also injured, Woodroof said. All three, based out of Camp Pendleton, declined to be taken to a hospital by paramedics.
Sheriff’s investigators have a great deal of video from cell phones and security cameras at the pier to sort through to get a better idea if further arrests are warranted, Woodroof said. Some 30 people were at the pier at the time of the melee, the sergeant said.
A minute-long video that has circulated online captured the brawl. The Marines are seen on the ground trying to shield themselves from the attack as their assailants punch and kick them.
One Marine told CBS2 the crowd was setting off firecrackers and, when some debris hit him the face, he asked the group to move on. One of the teens then took a swing at the back of the victim’s head, and the Marine turned around and charged at his attacker, which set off the crowd, he told the station.
The group then circled the two Marines and begin punching and kicking them, using racial slurs and expletives, he said.
A neighbor recorded the incident, the station reported.
The brawl appeared to come to an end after a man and a woman stepped in, telling the group to stop, the station reported.
Anyone with information regarding the beating was asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 949-425-1956. Tipsters who choose to remain anonymous may call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.
“The barbaric assault on off-duty Marines at the San Clemente Pier goes against everything we stand for in San Clemente, and it’s no excuse that teenagers were involved,” Duncan told the Los Angeles Times.
“I want to assure our community, especially our military and veteran community, that we take this matter with the utmost seriousness and will not tolerate this kind of behavior in our city. The fact that this incident occurred over Memorial Day weekend is particularly tragic.”
— City News Service