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Huntington Beach riot: Fullerton firefighter among 7 arrested

July 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A firefighter was one of seven people arrested following the Huntington Beach riots that erupted after the U.S. Surf Open Sunday.

Michael John Lytle, 30, of Anaheim was arrested following the beach city riots.

On Tuesday, officials confirmed Lytle was hired as a firefighter by the city of Fullerton on Feb. 11, 2008. The suspect was off-duty at the time of the incident but has been placed on paid administrative leave.

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 during the riots. Several police cars, city vehicles and businesses were also damaged during the riot.

"The officers, in my view, used an incredible amount of restraint in the way they responded to people who had absolutely no regard for their safety throwing very dangerous objects at us for absolutely no reason," said Small.

On Tuesday, residents had the chance to sound off after viewing never before seen footage of the incident. Many said they were angry law enforcement didn't respond to the incident sooner.

"It took at least 12 or 15 minutes for 50 cop cars to get here and that's when everything was already destroyed," said Brendan Brown of Huntington Beach.

Others agreed the event has grown too large and way too out of control. Some speakers wanted to see the U.S. Open itself as part of the past.

"Many of us residents endured public drunkeness, open use of drugs, public urination, and defecation," a resident said during the town hall meeting.

"It should be a surfing contest, I don't think it should be a skateboarding event. I don't think it should be a BMX event," another resident said.

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

On Tuesday, one of the seven arrested appeared in a Westminster courtroom where he pleaded not guilty. Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley was arrested Sunday and booked on vandalism, destruction of property, refuse to disperse and unlawful assembly charges.

Christman was released until his next court appearance on Aug. 7 but was ordered to wear an alcohol monitoring device since he is underage and prohibited from consuming alcohol. Lastly, Christman was also order to attend daily alcohol self-help meetings.

Lytle 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.

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.

Police say the search for the suspect who used a stop sign to smash a window at Easyrider Bike Shop continues. Officials were asking for the public's help to identify the suspect after a photo of the suspect began circulating.

Authorities say another suspect, 18-year-old Illario Niko Johnson of West Covina, was contacted by detectives and eliminated as the pictured suspect. Johnson had been wrongly identified on social media sites as the suspect who broke the window, police said. Johnson is expected to face charges for being involved in the disturbance, but not related to the window smashing.

A new window is now in place at the Easyrider Bike Shop as Huntington Beach returns to a sense of normalcy.

Huntington Beach police Lt. Mitchell O'Brien said the department has not decided whether they plan to change their policing approach next year or possibly add more officers.

"That decision is yet to be made," said O'Brien. "Believe me when I tell you, we want to get it right. We'll look at everything involved with this event. From what occurs there to how many officers we plan on."

Anyone with information about the disturbance or the suspect in the photo is urged to called the Huntington Beach Police Department's hotline at (714) 375-5066, or email hbpdfiles@gmail.com.

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