Five teenagers were arrested in connection with the beating of three US Marines by a crowd of young people they had asked to stop lighting fireworks.
The violent incident, which was captured on video, took place at Southern California‘s San Clemente Pier over Memorial Day weekend.
The suspects, four of whom are boys and one girl, face felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The city also says that four other local students were identified and have been citied with misdemeanour assault charges.
First responders gave medical aid to two Marines, who refused to go to the hospital, and investigators later found a third Marine who had also been attacked.
The video seemingly shows that the incident started when a teenage male punched a man in the back of the head. The man then charged the teenager before being surrounded by a group of people who hit him until the fight was broken up by a man and woman.
One of the Marines, Hunter Antonino, told KCAL that he and his two friends were at the pier when 30 teenagers arrived and began to set off fireworks
He said that when he was hit in the face by debris he asked the group to leave.
“They were lighting off fireworks, they were being belligerent, they were being obnoxious and annoying other people, so I went up to them and told them to stop,” he said.
San Clemente mayor Chris Duncan told The Los Angeles Times that the incident was unacceptable.
“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,” he said.
“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. The fact that this incident occurred over Memorial Day weekend is particularly tragic.”