Sheriff’s deputies in San Clemente, California, arrested nine teenagers over the brutal assault of three U.S. Marines last Saturday.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan announced that Orange County Sheriff’s Department had charged the teenagers, five of whom were accused of assault with a deadly weapon and the other four with misdemeanor assault and battery.
“They think they have the people they are looking for,” Duncan stated. “Not to say that there might not be a few others out there. They feel pretty confident that they have the main perpetrators. … They had some videotape that wasn’t readily available to the public that had a lot better images of the individuals involved.”
“In today’s age, you’re going to get caught — people are going to record it,” Duncan continued. “I hope this serves as a learning lesson for young folks in the community not to let themselves get out of control when something like this happens.”
As many as 40 young people were involved when the three U.S. Marines near a California beach Saturday night were attacked in a horrific moment caught on now-viral video.
The Marines were enjoying time off from their service at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside at approximately 10 p.m. along the beach in San Clemente. One of the Marines, Hunter Antonino, said a piece of debris hit him in the face, prompting him to ask the group to stop lighting fireworks.
“They were lighting off fireworks, they were being belligerent and obnoxious and annoying other people, so I went up to them and told them to stop,” he recalled. Antonio said the group then followed the Marines as they returned to the pier, whereupon Antonio and another Marine informed the group that they were Marines so the group would leave them alone.
Instead, the group savagely attacked the Marines. One individual punched a Marine in the back, prompting the Marine to turn and charge at him, sparking the melee. Video shows two of the Marines lying in the fetal position on the ground as the group kicked them and hurled racial epithets at them. The Marines were kicked in the head and upper body.
Although the Marines were injured, they refused to go to a hospital, according to Orange County Sheriff’s deputies. Antonio thought he may have suffered a concussion.
“This is San Clemente, Marines are always welcome here, always going to be celebrated, always taken care of, and that is why this is so particularly tragic,” Duncan said.