Five juveniles have been charged in connection with the May 26 mob attack on three Marines in San Clemente, California, said Sgt. Mike Woodruff, the public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Prosecutors will decide whether to charge an unspecified number of other minors for the attack on the Marines based on video evidence of the incident, Woodruff told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
“The investigation is ongoing – it’s not closed,” Woodruff said. “The investigators are still reviewing suspects because of the amount of the suspects and having to go through the video slowly to try to see who’s doing what.”
A video that has gone viral on social media shows a crowd of up to 40 teenagers getting into a brawl with the Marines at San Clemente Pier. The crowd repeatedly punched and kicked two of the Marines, who lay on the ground in the fetal position to protect themselves.
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In the video, which was originally posted on the Nextdoor social networking service, some members of the crowd can be heard egging on teenagers attacking the Marines by yelling “Get that f—ker!” and “f—k that f—ker up!”
It is unclear how the fight started. Lance Cpl. Hunter Antonino told KCAL-TV that the group of teenagers was setting off fireworks and he asked them to leave after debris from one of the fireworks hit him in the face.
Other videos posted on social media indicate that at least one of the Marines may have been interacting with the teenagers before the melee.
So far, four males and one female have been arrested for the attack on suspicion of committing assault with a deadly weapon (non-firearm), a felony offense, Woodruff said. All five have been booked into the county’s juvenile hall.
Authorities are not releasing the juvenile’s names or other information that could identify them due to their age, Woodruff said.
The five minors are expected to appear in juvenile court, said Woodruff, who did not have their exact ages but said they are likely between 14 and 17 years old.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether to file charges against the four boys and one girl, said Kimberly Edds, director of public affairs for the district attorney’s office.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan told Task & Purpose that authorities have identified additional juveniles that could be charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. It is unclear how many minors might ultimately face charges for the incident given the number of people in the crowd, he said.
“There’s 30 people there, so they could find new names for the next few weeks,” Duncan said.
Marine Corps officials are also looking into the May 26 incident, which involved three Marines assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, according to a brief statement from I Marine Expeditionary Force.
“I MEF is committed to supporting local authorities in this ongoing investigation,” the statement reads “No additional information will be made available at this time as this incident is under investigation.”
UPDATE: 05/31/2023; this story was updated with a statement from I Marine Expeditionary Force.
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