4 arrested for alleged hate crime in Ojai

OJAI, Calif.

Kirk Smets, 19, Andrew Martin, 20, Forrest Darrough, 20, and Mya Braschler, 20, all of Ventura, were arrested Wednesday in connection with two assaults that took place at two separate campgrounds in Rose Valley in September.

Deputies responded to an assault at Middle Lions Campground near Hwy 33 on Sept. 7 after the victims reportedly fled and called 911. Shouting racial slurs, the four suspects armed with baseball bats allegedly attacked several people at the campground. According to authorities, one of the victims sustained a broken arm during the assault.

During the investigation, deputies learned a group of Hispanic male hunters camping in the area of Rose Valley Campground had also been assaulted with baseball bats. The suspects had allegedly shouted similar racial slurs at the victims.

One of the suspects in the hate crimes was a frequent associate with a known white supremacist and convicted felon named Ryan Vanausdell.

On Sept. 27, 2012, investigators served a search warrant at Vanausdell's home in the 90 block of Calle Cinco de Mayo in Oak View. Two assault weapons, two rifles, two shotguns, one handgun, and a large quantity of illegal ammunition were found in the suspect's home.

Vanausdell was booked for several felonies including possession of firearms by a felon and possession of bullets containing an explosive agent.

On Dec. 12, 2012, investigators served additional search warrants at residences in the 3900 block of Flower Street, 2400 block of Pierpont Boulevard, and the 500 block of Emma Avenue in Ventura.

Following the search warrants, Smets, Martin, Darrough, and Braschler were arrested for their roles in the September assault. The four suspects face felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and violation of civil rights by force or fear.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.