Five juveniles were arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking part in a Friday attack by a crowd on three off-duty Marines in California, according to local police.
A viral video taken of the San Clemente, California, pier appears to show one person out of a crowd of young people take a swing at one Marine, who then ran toward him, prompting a series of punches from the teens.
Later footage apparently shows two of the Marines in the fetal position on the ground to protect themselves from blows.
When they arrived, they found two male Marines had been injured. First responders rendered medical aid, but the Marines declined to be taken to the hospital, according to the news release.
As deputies investigated the incident, they learned that a third male Marine had been assaulted, the news release stated.
On Tuesday, investigators from the sheriff’s department arrested four male teens and one female teen they believed were involved, on charges of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, according to the release.
Unconfirmed allegations that the Marines had been acting belligerently and inappropriately with the teenagers circulated on social media following news of the arrest.
The investigation is ongoing, “due to the nature of the incident and the large number of individuals involved,” the sheriff’s department stated in the release.
The department said it wouldn’t release more information about the suspects because they were juveniles.
The department didn’t respond by publication time to a Marine Corps Times request for comment.
The Marine expeditionary force “is aware and looking into the incident” involving three of its Marines, the unit said in a statement to Marine Corps Times.
“I MEF is committed to supporting local authorities in this ongoing investigation,” the statement read. “No additional information will be made available at this time as this incident is under investigation.”
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan in a Facebook post Wednesday praised the sheriff’s department for the arrests, adding, “Now we work with law enforcement, schools, and parents to ensure nothing like this happens again in our town.”
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.