Nine minors were arrested Tuesday after a melee near the San Clemente Pier over Memorial Day weekend in which a group of 30 teenagers and young adults bludgeoned three off-duty Marines, according to the city’s mayor.
Orange County deputies arrested five of the minors – four boys and a girl – on suspicion of felony assault, San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said the five people were incarcerated in the Orange County Juvenile Ward. Duncan said four additional minors were arrested on other charges.
The identities of the suspects have not been released as they are minors, authorities said.
The Marines were kicked and punched by the group Friday night, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
An altercation broke out between the Marines and youths around 9:50 p.m., the sheriff’s department said. Authorities did not say what caused the fight, but one of the Marines told KCBS-TV Channel 2 it started after he asked the other group to stop lighting fireworks on the beach because debris from fireworks had hit him in the face.
Video obtained by KTLA-TV Channel 5 shows three Marines walking away from the group of youths. The video then shows someone punching a Marine from behind before the Marine charges at the group. A melee ensues and at least two Marines are pictured on the ground, curled up in a fetal position, people in the crowd punching them in the head and upper body before two adults step in and stop the beatings.
“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 for teenagers to be involved,” Duncan said. . “I want to assure our community, especially our military and veteran community, that we take this matter very seriously and will not tolerate this kind of behavior in our city.”
“The fact that this incident happened over Memorial Day weekend is particularly tragic,” Duncan added.
The Orange County Fire Authority treated the Marines at the scene, but they all refused to be taken to hospital, according to the sheriff’s department. The Marines suffered minor to moderate injuries, said Sgt. Mike Woodruff, spokesman for the sheriff’s department.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the Sheriff’s Department at (949) 770-6011.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.