By Cari Hachmann
Starbucks released a statement to San Clemente Times regarding the incident. “We are thankful that our customers and partners (employees) are safe. We are proud of our partners who acted quickly to protect our customers, and the quick response of law enforcement to secure and arrest the individual. The store was briefly closed, but was opened again quickly and is operating normally to serve our customers in San Clemente.”
Sheriff’s deputies were called to a Starbucks in Talega on Tuesday morning, July 9, for a report that a juvenile male was creating a disturbance inside the business and had assaulted at least one female customer, said Carrie Braun, public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The incident happened at around 10:45 a.m. at the Starbucks store at 1001 Avenida Pico, G, near the intersection of Avenida Pico and Avenida La Pata in San Clemente.
Braun said the suspect was restrained by a store employee and customer prior to deputies arriving. He was then arrested and treated at a hospital before police booked him into juvenile hall on two felony charges for vandalism and assault.
Braun said it is unknown whether the juvenile was on drugs or alcohol at the time of his arrest.
Witnesses spread word about the incident on Facebook. Many were calling the suspect “a man” who appeared to be on a drug-induced rampage, however, police confirmed the person to be a minor.
On San Clemente Life’s Facebook page, Mark Milius stated that his wife, Kristi, was “punched in the face out of nowhere as she was walking in front of the Starbucks.” He continued to say that the suspect then ran by another woman and slapped her in the back of the head before jumping on the hood of a car.
“He then continued his rampage and ran into Starbucks,” Milius wrote on Facebook.
Local resident Martin Johnson said he was inside Starbucks waiting to place his order when the juvenile suddenly entered the store and started knocking over merchandise displays and taking swings at customers.
Witnesses said he jumped onto the barista counter and began throwing drinks, kicking items off the counter and kicking at employees, before he jumped back down, continued taking swings at customers and was heard saying “hit me in the face.”
“Everyone was freaking out and trying to get out. Several women were taking phone video and calling 911,” Johnson said.
Witnesses said the juvenile was eventually tackled and restrained by two to three men inside the Starbucks until police arrived.
“When the police tried to restrain him, he attempted to bite police,” Milius wrote on Facebook. “He was restrained and taken away into custody in an ambulance.”
Johnson, who resides in Ladera Ranch and is a 35-year resident of the area, said, “The maniac seemed to be on drugs.”
Milius stated his wife will be pressing charges, but said the other woman who was allegedly slapped left the scene before police could take her statement.
Angelina Ashley, a Starbucks employee, wrote on San Clemente Life’s Facebook page that police took video from the store and got statements from employees who were working at the time along with customers who witnessed the incident.
“We were all pretty shaken up, but we cleaned up the store and it was business as usual!” Ashley wrote on Facebook.
Braun said the Sheriff’s department could not release any more information at this time.
The manager of the Starbucks where the incident took place was not authorized to provide a comment.