HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bicycle salesman Bert Etheredge locked down the shop where he works and sent customers and co-workers into a back room when he saw a raucous mob moving up the main street of a California beach town after a popular surf contest.
Moments later, the wild crowd yanked out a stop sign and rammed it through the window of the Easyrider shop before stealing a bike.
“It was like a flood of people,” Etheredge said. “A running from the bulls kind of thing.”
More than 100 police officers responded to quell the disturbance on Sunday night in Huntington Beach, the city that bills itself as “Surf City USA,” after a fight broke out across from the beach where thousands of spectators had gathered for the popular nine day-U.S. Open of Surfing.
The raucous crowd toppled portable toilets, threw items from rooftops and smashed car windows along the popular downtown strip lined with restaurants, bars and surf and skate shops.
Police fired pepper balls and rubber projectiles to break up the melee.
One person was treated for injuries at a hospital after apparently being hit by a flying bottle and one of the rubber projectiles, Huntington Beach police Lt. Mitchell O’Brien said.
Seven people were booked into jail, one for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly hitting an officer with a skateboard. Others were being investigated for drunken conduct and failure to disperse. Officers initially detained nine people, but two were later released.
“Any time you have thousands of people put together like this, you have the potential for things to go wrong,” O’Brien said.
Police were sifting through photos and video of the melee posted online and expect to make more arrests.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, police Chief Ken Small defended the officers’ actions.
They “used a great deal of restraint when facing a barrage of bottles, bricks, rocks” and other objects, he said.
The U.S. Open of Surfing draws thousands of people every year to Huntington Beach. The event that ended Sunday included surfing, skateboarding and live music.
“We’re extremely disappointed and saddened by the disturbance,” said a statement on the U.S. Open of Surfing website. “We work tirelessly with city staff, police, fire and other agencies to ensure a safe environment for all.”
Shopkeepers say downtown — known for its scenic beaches and crashing surf — is often the scene of drunken bar brawls and rowdy behavior — but not rioting. Locals say some of the worst offenses come during the U.S. Open of Surfing when young partiers descend on the strip and leave a mess
“The people who come here aren’t here to shop. They’re just here to cause trouble,” said Michelle Hogan, manager of Island Cowgirl jewelry shop, which escaped the ruckus unscathed. “There’s the drunkenness and the craziness but something like a riot is unheard of.”
Police said one of the arrestees was from Huntington Beach. The other six were from other Southern California cities.
On Monday, there was little sign of the disturbance except for a boarded-up window at Easyrider and a handful of television news trucks parked on the main strip. Beachgoers wearing flip-flops cruised by on colorful bicycles as tourists shopped for trinkets and stopped for lunch on a typically sunny summer day.
Tracey Boyle, 45, said she wasn’t fazed by the melee in the tourist town where she and her three children from Northern California had come to spend their vacation.
“It’s just something that got out of hand,” Boyle said. “You can’t imagine what it would be at a surf event — they seem too chill to get in that kind of confrontation, but they clearly did.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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