Mob rages after surfing competition
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.
Police in Huntington Beach say an unruly crowd that refused to leave in the aftermath of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing brawled and caused a variety of damage in the city's downtown area.
A large mob broke out at about 7:15 p.m., knocking over portable toilets and vandalizing and looting at least one business, NBC 4 News in Los Angeles reported. Police made eight arrests on suspicion of failure to disperse, according to a Huntington Beach Police Department statement.
Police Lt. Mitchell O'Brien tells KCBS-TV that when the event's last day ended Sunday officers were unable to get the crowd to disperse from surrounding streets. Hours later, police were still struggling with the crowd, the department had summoned all officers to duty and was asking for help from other agencies.
O'Brien says the U.S. Open sometimes brings a handful of arrests for underage drinking and similar crimes, but police haven't had this level of difficulty in decades.
An attendee of the surfing contest, Russ Mundi, told the Los Angeles Times that police fired what smelled like tear gas to disperse the crowd.
"I heard shots going off, and the whole crowd just started running," he told the Times.
The surfing event drew thousands of people to the Huntington Beach boardwalk over the weekend.
By about 9 p.m., the commotion appeared to have ended and the streets were mostly cleared, except for a heavy police presence.