Huntington Beach residents, businesses reeling after massive party turns chaotic

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Monday, May 24, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

Residents and officials spent Sunday cleaning up in Huntington Beach after a crowd of around 2,500 people caused a chaotic scene Saturday night and damaged a number of local businesses, leading to nearly 150 arrests.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents and officials spent Sunday cleaning up in Huntington Beach after a crowd of around 2,500 people caused a chaotic scene Saturday night and damaged a number of local businesses, leading to nearly 150 arrests.

Police say 121 adults and 28 juveniles were arrested on charges including vandalism, setting off illegal fireworks and failure to disperse. Multiple downtown businesses, police vehicles and a lifeguard tower were damaged, but no serious injuries have been reported.

Authorities say thousands of people showed up for a party on the beach and in the streets after a Tik Tok video promoting a birthday party went viral. Police had monitored social media posts and were prepared for an unruly crowd.

The party-like atmosphere eventually turned violent, and police declared an unlawful assembly and issued an overnight curfew. But many continued to party in the streets. People threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers.

Nearly 150 arrested after Huntington Beach party with thousands in attendance turns unruly

As police tried to control the crowd, fireworks exploded on the street, sending people running for cover. At least one police cruiser also had a window shattered, possibly from the fireworks.

Video from the scene also showed party-goers jumping on a lifeguard tower that eventually collapsed.

There was a report of a bomb threat, but police say they didn't find any explosive devices.

Less than 24 hours later, Pat Mancilla was sweeping up broken glass and pepper balls left over from police who tried to disperse the throngs of people. The Huntington Beach resident and her husband came determined to help clean up Sunday.

"I worry about the kids and people who come to enjoy the beach, and I don't want them stepping on glass," she said. "I just cleaned up all down there, up and down the streets. Doing my part."

Mancilla's husband, Ed, said the city needed extra help after the widespread vandalism.

"Looks like it got way out of hand last night. City workers can't take care of everything, so any help the local residents can do to keep the beach clean, that's why we're here," he said.

Jodi McKay of the Huntington Beach Surfing Museum said the business was vandalized.

"They ransacked the booths and broke things, unnecessarily stole some merchandise that some of the vendors had," she said. "It just kind of looked like a war zone, quite frankly."

Vendors spent Sunday morning picking up what was left.

The local fair helps to raise money for the Huntington Beach Surfing Museum. Now a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the vendors recover from their losses.

Huntington Beach police say officers are preparing for another night of unrest, although they are hopeful it will be a quiet night.

City News Service contributed to this report.