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Huntington Beach riot: Cameras capture chaos; more arrests possible

A crowd tears down a stop sign during what police called a major disturbance in Huntington Beach following the U.S. Open of Surfing on Sunday, July 28, 2013. (twitter.com/@AyyRayRay222)
July 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Huntington Beach police are asking for the public's help to find people who damaged businesses and property during a riot after a popular surfing event Sunday night.

The chaos in the streets started around 7 p.m. when police say a large crowd gathered at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway after the Van's U.S. Open of Surfing competition. Police said that's when a large fight broke out.

When officers tried to break up the disturbance, the crowd moved into the downtown area of Huntington Beach. People were seen knocking over Porta-Potties, smashing city vehicles and setting items on fire. People even ripped out a stop sign and used it to break windows.

Shops were looted and there was widespread damage. Bicycles were stolen from a display case at Easy Rider. At least one video captured the moment when rioters broke the display glass.

Burt Etheridge who works at Easy Rider fought back against the vandals. Etheridge says he got into a tug of war with looters while trying to save merchandise as many tried to steal skateboards and bikes.

He and a number of others had been hiding in the bicycle store.

"I noticed them pulling the stop sign down," said Etheridge. "As soon as the stop sign came down, I knew it was going to come through our window and sure enough it did. The looters took skateboards, one bicycle and then I started wrestling with them and I pulled it back into the shop."

Huntington Beach Police Chief Kenneth Small says it took about two hours for nearly 300 police officers and personnel from other area departments to break up fights. Several police cars, city vehicles and businesses were also damaged.

"In order to bring this incident under control, there was limited and measured use of force by law enforcement officers including the use of pepper balls and non-lethal projectiles," said Small during a news conference Monday.

Several officers sustained minor injuries during the event. One citizen was treated at the hospital after being struck with a rubber projectile fired by law enforcement.

"I want to make clear that the law enforcement officers, in my view, used a great deal of restraint when facing a barrage of bottles, bricks, rocks thrown at them from a crowd of people who repeatedly failed to disperse after being told to do so," said Small.

Eight arrests were made for disturbing the peace, unlawful assembly and inciting a riot.

Michael John Lytle, 30, of Anaheim and Joseph Monterrosa, 28, of Ontario were arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Andres Gomez, 24, of Huntington Beach was arrested for refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

Michael Anthony Avila, 28, of Santa Ana was arrested for resisting or delaying a police officer. Adam A. Cecot, 18, of Irvine was arrested for refusing to disperse and unlawful assembly.

Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley was arrested and booked on vandalism, destruction of property, refuse to disperse and unlawful assembly charges.

Kyle Roger Crott, 18, of Riverside was arrested for resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon on an officer. The suspect allegedly used a skateboard to hit an officer.

A photo taken by a Los Angeles Times photographer show an unidentified man celebrating after allegedly smashing a window with a stop sign. He has reportedly bragged about the incident on social media but has not yet been arrested.

On Monday, people were seen picking up broken glass from some bungalows that were being renovated.

"We now have to reinstall windows we installed a week ago," said James Gould of Huntington Beach.

Right across the street from the bungalows was a damaged SUV. Apparently someone was aiming a bottle at a squad car but missed. The bottle went right through the SUV's window.

The Huntington Beach City Council announced they will be holding a meeting Tuesday to give residents a chance to share their input regarding the incident.

In the meantime, police said they will look at video and pictures posted on social media in an attempt to identify and arrest additional suspects.

Anyone with information was asked to call Huntington Beach police at (714) 375-5066. Witnesses can also send their photos and information to hbpdfiles@gmail.com.


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