Editor’s Note: This story was updated Wednesday afternoon, May 31, to include the City of San Clemente’s statement on the matter.
Five minors have been arrested in connection to the video-recorded altercation at the San Clemente Pier Bowl on Friday, May 26, when three off-duty U.S. Marines were reportedly assaulted by several juveniles and young adults, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
In a social media announcement from OCSD on Tuesday, May 30, the department said four male minors and one female minor were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon (non-firearm). The five of them were booked into the Orange County Juvenile Hall.
According to the City of San Clemente on Wednesday, May 31, the five minors were all local students. The city also said four other local students were identified and have been citied with misdemeanor assault charges.
“As your elected officials, we want to assure you that nothing is more important than public safety,” the city said in a media release. “The use of overtime and other strategies to increase the public safety presence in the community has been authorized. Furthermore, at the last City Council meeting, the City Council approved an increase in the number of Sheriff Deputies in San Clemente.”
Sgt. Mike Woodroof, an OCSD public information officer, said Wednesday morning that investigators believe there are additional suspects to have been involved in the altercation, as the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities have previously estimated there could have been between 10 and 30 minors and young adults involved.
The department, Woodroof also said Wednesday, wouldn’t disclose any identifying information regarding the minors, including their cities of residence and their ages.
At around 9:50 p.m. last Friday, deputies arrived on the scene, where two of the Marines, both men, were found with multiple minor injuries such as an injury to the hand, scrapes to the knees and soreness to the abdomen, chest and head areas, Woodroof had previously stated.
“During the investigation, a third male United States Marine was discovered to have been assaulted during the incident,” OCSD said in the social media post.
In its media release, the city further condemned the assault, acknowledging a concern felt by many in the community that several local teens were involved.
“We are deeply concerned that these attacks originated with local high school students and that in addition to the brutal attack, racial epithets were used,” the city said. “These activities are in no way indictive of the overwhelming majority of the great students in our schools or the culture of this incredible community.”
The city went onto to state that it intends to work with OCSD and local schools to come up with ideas for preventing similar events from happening in the future.
“Out best wishes and deepest condolences go out to the Marines and their families and we sincerely thank them for their service,” the city said.
Below is San Clemente Times’ initial report on the melee at the San Clemente Pier Bowl area, published Monday morning, May 29.
Authorities are investigating an altercation at the San Clemente Pier Bowl area that resulted in two U.S. Marines sustaining multiple injuries after reportedly being assaulted by several minors and young adults this past Friday night, May 26, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
At around 9:50 p.m., deputies arrived on the scene, where there were many minors and the two Marines, both men, who were medically treated there and refused to be taken to a hospital, said Sgt. Mike Woodroof, an OCSD public information officer.
“That’s kind of where it’s at right now,” Woodroof said. “Investigations is pursuing it right now.”
The two men sustained minor injuries, such as an injury to the hand, scrapes to the knees and soreness to the abdomen, chest and head areas, according to Woodroof. The names of the victims could not be shared at this time, Woodroof said.
It’s unclear exactly how many minors were involved in the altercation, with authorities estimating that there could have been between 10 and 30, Woodroof said.
No one was taken into custody or arrested, said Woodroof, who also noted that it’s unclear what led to Friday night’s altercation.
A roughly minute-long video that’s been circulated on social media captured the brawl occurring along the sidewalk and stairway area of the Pier Bowl that leads visitors toward the train tracks and beach’s entrance.
At the start of the recording, one of the Marines is seen starting to walk up the steps and is being followed by a large group of people yelling. A seemingly young individual appears to take a swing to the back of the Marine’s head.
View this post on Instagram
At that point, the Marine turns around and charges toward the young person, which leads to the melee as many others jump into the altercation, appearing to take swings at the Marine. The group is then recorded circling around the Marine, with some using racial slurs and curse words while encouraging others to punch and kick him.
As the person recording the incident gets closer to the center of the altercation, the Marine is seen laying on the ground next to the second victim, the fellow Marine, as the two continue to get kicked and punched by the group of reported minors.
The brawl appears to come to an end after two individuals, a man and a woman, step in, instructing the group to stop.
Woodroof on Monday morning, May 29, said he didn’t have the two individuals’ names who broke up the fight.
“The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will continue investigating this matter until all individuals responsible are identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” OCSD said in a social media post.
Reiterating the department’s messaging, Woodroof said “Regardless of whether you’re a juvenile or adult you’re still responsible to the law.
“For those who violated the law in this incident, investigations is going to pursue who they are and at that point go from there,” he continued. “And if charges get pressed, they’ll get pressed.”
According to Woodroof, possible charges include assault with a deadly weapon—a felony—and assault and battery, a misdemeanor. Woodroof explained that when a person kicks someone in the head, their leg is considered a deadly weapon at that point.
In its social media post, OCSD said its deputies have increased patrol checks in and around the pier area “for the public’s continued safety.”
This is a developing story.