A 16-year-old who was part of the mob of 40 who attacked two Marines at a beach party will be tried as an adult, the teenager’s family told the New York Post.
The assault, which has been captured in a now-viral video, happened shortly before 10 p.m. Friday in the town of San Clemente near Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base.
The 16-year-old was one of five teenagers – four boys and a girl – who were arrested on Tuesday for assault with a deadly weapon.
It’s unclear why the teen will be charged as an adult and if the other teens will also be charged as adults.
Video circulating online showed the victims, Marine Hunter Antonino and two other unnamed servicemen, being knocked to the ground until a woman and a man broke.
The 16-year-old who was one of five teenagers – four boys and a girl – who was arrested on Tuesday for assault with a deadly weapon for attacking three Marines, will be charged as an adult
Antonino told KCAL the fight started when he told the teenagers to stop lighting fireworks
Police initially found two victims, but later determined that a third Marine had also been attacked, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Recent footage has emerged calling into question the innocence of the three Marines involved.
The video shows the teenager provoking the servicemen who are seen staggering on San Clemente beach topless holding bottles of beer on Friday night.
One of the servicemen goes after the teenagers, dropping his bottle of beer in the process, and has to be restrained by his comrade as the kids continue to goad them while filming on their phones.
Nine teenagers have since been arrested in connection with the attack in which servicemen were repeatedly kicked while lying on the ground, leaving at least one of them concussed.
The assault on the Marines was widely condemned, including by the local mayor, especially since it fell on Memorial Day weekend.
The Marines say they were assaulted after confronting the group for setting off fireworks.
But footage taken before the all-out brawl shows Marine Hunter Antonino drinking around a number of teenagers and chatting openly with them, while holding a bottle of whiskey.
On Tuesday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that it had charged four boys and a girl with assault with a deadly weapon and that they would be held in a juvenile hall.
Four others were also charged with assault and battery.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan revealed deputies nabbed the prime suspects from the crowd of teenagers who launched the attack.
He said: “They think they have the people they are looking for. Not to say there might not be a few more. They are quite convinced that they have the main perpetrators.
Footage of the incident has been used to trace those involved, the mayor added.
“In our time, you’re going to get caught – people are going to tape it,” Duncan said.
“I hope this serves as a lesson to young people in the community not to let themselves get out of control when something like this happens.”
When approached to comment on the latest footage of the incident, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said it had not seen the new video.
Hunter Antonino, one of the Marines, says KCAL that the fight started when he asked the teenagers to stop lighting fireworks
Antonino said he and his friend were enjoying rare moments off from Camp Pendleton in Oceanside over Memorial Day weekend when the crowds started lighting the fireworks.
A piece of debris then hit him in the face and Antonino said he politely asked them to leave.
He said: ‘They were setting off fireworks, they were belligerent, obnoxious and annoying others, so I went up to them and told them to stop,’ he recounted.
But the group followed him to the pier, at which point Antonino said he and his friend warned the teenagers they were Marines “so they would leave, but they didn’t”.
In the original one-minute clip posted to Facebook, the Marines were seen trying to climb the steps outside the Pier Bowl as a group of teenagers yelled at them.
As they approach the stairs, a boy is seen brutally punching the back of one of the Marines’ head.
A 16-year-old who was part of the mob of 40 who attacked two Marines at a beach party will be tried as an adult
The original attack began outside the Pier Bowl as the Marines began to climb the steps
The latest video shows the moment a large group surrounds two of the Marines as they begin to push each other back and forth
The soldier turned and charged at the attacker, leading to an all-out fight, as the child’s friends jumped up to take swings and kick him.
Within seconds, the group circled around the two Marines shouting “Get that f***er” and “f*** that f***er up,” even using the N-word at one point.
And two of the victims were seen curled up on the ground as the group continued to beat them with vicious kicks.
The fight only ended when two passers-by, an unknown man and woman, intervened and shouted at the children: “Stop, what are you doing?
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan called the Memorial Day weekend attack “tragic.”
“This is San Clemente, Marines are always welcome here, will always be celebrated, always cared for, and that’s why it’s so especially tragic,” he said.