BREAKING: Deputy trying to break up large fight tackled, disarmed of baton, injured, during wild SJ melee
SAN JACINTO — Details are beginning to emerge after a deputy trying to break up a large fight among a group of students near San Jacinto High School was tackled to the ground and injured by a student who was captured on video on top of and assaulting the officer.
The teen assailant then tried to flee on foot from the injured deputy, leading to a second violent altercation in the middle of traffic on Tiger Ln., between N. Ramona Blvd. and Santa Rosa St.
Witnesses at the scene later reported that during the wild altercation, the deputy discharged his pepper spray into a crowd of combative and non-compliant students, was possibly disarmed of his baton during the ensuing melee, and later pulled his firearm while apprehending the teen who moments earlier had tackled him to the ground.
At least two separate videos have since emerged on social media depicting portions of the violent confrontation that brought officials from multiple area law enforcement agencies racing to the scene from around the surrounding communities.
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Contacted for information about the violent encounter, Riverside Sheriff’s spokesperson Deputy Robyn Flores later explained the incident began about 1:30 p.m., when a deputy from the San Jacinto Police Department responded to reports of “a large crowd assembled near the outer perimeter of San Jacinto High School.”
According to Flores, that initial disturbance eventually broke out into “a physical altercation between students,” and led to a deputy being injured.
When the initial responding deputy arrived at the scene, “he gave commands for the juveniles to stop fighting and for the crowd to disperse, in which they failed to comply,” Flores explained.
“An altercation between the deputy and one of the juveniles ensued,” according to Flores, “resulting in the arrest of the juvenile.”
Within minutes of the violent confrontation and arrest the first of at least two short videos were posted to social media, which showed two very brief but disturbing portions of the wild melee that ended with today’s arrest.
The two short videos, the first of which lasts about 13 seconds and the second of which lasts about 26 seconds, did not show the beginning or ending of the wild melee, and only showed the altercation after the deputy was already trying to break up the fight.
The first video, shot by area resident Barb Stephenson, showed the lone deputy grappling with more than a dozen students, as he is literally pushed and carried along several dozen yards by the swarming, screaming, violent crowd.
During the short video, the deputy appears to be fighting for control of an unidentified object, possibly a can of pepper spray or his baton.
The second, nearly 30-second video, shot by San Jacinto resident Nina Rodriguez begins with a crowd of dozens of students who can be seen pushing and shoving each other and the deputy who appears to be standing in the middle of the screaming throngs of students, while trying to break up the initially reported fight.
As the deputy continues trying to break up the fight, a student suddenly rushes the official, tackling him to the ground. Students can be heard screaming in dismay and shock as the juvenile climbs on top of the deputy and appears to be striking him as he lay on his back on the ground.
As at least a dozen screaming bystanders rushed in with their cell phones out and filming the chaotic scene, one lone student finally rushed in to the aid of the downed deputy, grabbing and shoving the male teen who was still on top of and attacking the official.
The deputy quickly jumped up to chase to teen, but appeared unsteady on his feet and possibly injured from the unexpected violent attack.
With teens running in every direction and witnesses in nearby cars blaring their horns, the deputy is then captured on video chasing the fleeing teen into the middle of traffic on Tiger Ln., where he grabs and begins wrestling with the student.
The video ends moments later while the deputy is still grappling with the student in the middle of traffic on the busy street.
At some point during the melee the deputy managed to put out a priority radio call for emergency assistance and for the next several minutes deputies and officers from around the surrounding areas converged on the scene from every direction with their lights flashing and sirens wailing.
According to one of the good Samaritans who later said she tried to help the deputy, she saw one of the students grab the official’s baton during the melee, forcing the deputy to draw his firearm. Others also reported similar observations, but sheriff’s officials have not yet confirmed those claims.
After the incident was brought under control, the deputy was checked out for injuries that Flores later described as minor and the suspect was ultimately booked into juvenile hall. It was not immediately known if the deputy was transported for further medical treatment and follow up or what the nature and full extent of his injuries were.
No other videos or photos of the violent incident have come to light yet and according to Flores officials are in the early stages of their investigation into the incident and no further information is to be released at this time.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.