More Arrests Pending in U.S. Open of Surfing Riots as Police Identify Those Facing Charges
See Update No. 5 on Page 4 with the police chief saying more vandals have been identified and will soon be arrested as his department releases the names and charges against those already arrested. Update No. 4 at the bottom of Page 3 is on the U.S. Open of Surfing organizer being "saddened" by the riots, the city hosting a press conference on the violence this afternoon and a social media campaign aimed at outing one vandal. Update No. 3 on Page 3 has police seeking photos and video (like what's higher up on the same page) so they can possibly add to the arrest total of eight. Page 2 has photos from the scene and Update No. 2 on what police initially posted on their Facebook page. Update No. 1 after the jump has witness accounts.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 28, 8:55 P.M.: Police in riot gear and holding batons are being illuminated by police helicopters flying overhead as downtown Huntington Beach resembles a war zone at this hour.
Department officials, who are calling this a "major event," say a large group of rowdy people refused to leave after the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing ended around 5 p.m., leading to public rioting.
No injuries have been reported, but some property has apparently been damaged.
* 6 Possible Sparks to the Riots That Broke Out After the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing Ended
* The Huntington Beach Surf Riot: A New Perspective
* 25 Years Ago Today, the Op Pro in Huntington Beach Erupted in Riots [VIDEO]
A caller to KTLA/Channel 5 News claims closures around PCH, Main Street and First Street happened after someone apparently stole an item or items from a store. This was followed by fighting in front of a liquor store.
Portable toilets were being tipped over by the time a line of police officers came up from the pier area to clear the streets. The caller claimed pepper-spray pellets were shot into the crowd, prompting some angered civilians to pull up stop signs.
Facebook/Huntington Beach Police Department Crowds grew restless after the U.S. Open of Surfing ended Sunday evening.
Some of those hit will pellets screamed they had been shot, according to the caller, who added officers seemed to have moved beyond closing main streets to downtown alleys as well.
A teen later interviewed on camera near the pier said members of the rowdy group threw ketchup bottles.
UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 28, 9:30 P.M.: A witness tells the Weekly she is locked inside Gallaghers pub in downtown Huntington Beach "and it looks like the running of the bulls out there."
Tear gas has been fired into crowds, and fires have broken out, the witness adds.
A resident says the rioting has been going on for five hours and that merchants had been warning of a riot coming before things actually went south. The rioting seemed to be stirred up by a group of young men wearing bandanas.
Huntington Beach Police called in for help from Seal Beach, Fullerton and other Orange County law enforcement agencies.
Photos shot by John Gilhooley for OC Weekly are on on the next page. Videos of the chaos are on page 3.