A large group of around 30 teenagers and young adults allegedly kicked and punched three off-duty Marines near the San Clemente Pier on the night of Friday, May 26. The Marines sustained minor to moderate injuries and the Orange County Sheriff’s department is investigating who was involved in the attack.
One of the Marines told KCBS Channel 2 that the confrontation started when he asked the group of young people to stop lighting fireworks, after debris from one hit him in the face. A video obtained by KTLA-TV Channel 5 from the scene shows the Marines walking away from a crowd of young people. Then, one Marine is punched in the back of the head, after which he rushes into the crowd and a large scuffle breaks out. The victims can then be seen on the ground in the fetal position, being kicked by members of the crowd. Finally, two people intercede to break up the attack.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the marines were treated at the scene by The Orange County Fire Authority. According to the Sheriff’s Department, they sustained minor to moderate injuries, and all refused to be transported to a hospital.
In a public statement, a representative of The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said, “This is considered an assault with a deadly weapon, because of the amount of suspects that we are investigating. The weapons that were used were their feet, while these victims were on the ground. Regardless of the victims choosing prosecution or medical attention, the sheriff’s department is going to investigate this to the fullest and try to determine who the suspects are.”
“The barbaric assault on off-duty Marines at the San Clemente Pier goes against everything we stand for in San Clemente, and it’s no excuse that teenagers were involved,” weighed in San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan. “I want to assure our community, especially our military and veteran community, that we take this matter with the utmost seriousness and will not tolerate this kind of behavior in our city.”
In response, the City Council has voted to hire four more deputies to patrol the beach areas. The Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate the incident, but has not yet identified any suspects.