An appalling video shared on social media shows a mob of dozens of people, many of whom appear to be teenagers, viciously attacking three Marines in San Clemente, California, on May 26.
No information was available on Tuesday about the medical conditions of the three Marines.
Marine Corps officials are aware of the incident and looking into the matter, said Maj. Lucas Burke, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Division.
Lance Cpl. Hunter Antonino told KCAL-TV that he and the other two Marines were off duty near San Clemente Pier when a group of between 30 and 40 unruly teenagers began setting off fireworks. When debris from one of the fireworks struck him in the face, Antonio asked the teenagers to leave.
“We told them that we were Marines so they would leave, but they didn’t,” Antonino told the television station. “They kept going at it.”
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The crowd of teenagers followed the Marines to the pier and then fell upon them, Antonino told KCAL-TV.
Video taken of the assault, which was originally posted on the Nextdoor social networking service, appears to show the teenagers taunting the Marines, with one person yelling, “Get the f—k out of here!”
Then, a young man appears to punch one of the Marines in the back. When the Marine then rushes into the crowd to grab his attacker, a melee breaks out and at least two of the Marines are enveloped by the crowd. Punches and kicks then rain down on the Marines as they lay on the ground.
At least one of the teenagers in the crowd can be heard yelling, “Kick that f—ker!” and other taunts as the rest of the group kicks two of the Marines, who are balled up in the fetal position for protection.
Even though the Marines on the ground are not fighting back, the teenagers continue to kick and punch them. One of the onlookers yells a racial slur while another taunts the Marines by yelling, “What’s up, p—ies?”
The assault begins to wind down when a woman and a man manage to move the crowd of teenagers away from the two Marines on the ground.
As of Tuesday, authorities have not made any arrests in connection with the incident as of Tuesday, but the investigation remains a priority, said Sgt. Mike Woodruff, the public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
It is unclear how the brawl started, Woodruff told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
“I’ve heard the statements regarding the fireworks, but the investigators are looking into the totality of the circumstances, trying to find out exactly what those were,” Woodruff said.
The three Marines initially indicated that they did not want to file charges against the teenagers who attacked them, but they may have changed their minds since then, Woodruff said.
Between 30 and 40 teenagers might have been in the crowd at the time of the incident, of which at least three are currently suspects, Woodruff said. Investigators are looking into the circumstances leading up to the fight.
“What side started the melee, as far as the physical violence, it appears that it’s the juveniles – or that group of what appears to be juveniles, based on the video,” Woodruff said. “Now, as far as an antagonist up to that point, I do not know what that is.”
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