More details and video emerge, HPD asks for parents’ help, after brawl at Hemet’s THS

UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9, 4:30 p.m.

See original and updated story and photos below.

HEMET — In the wake of yet another huge school brawl that led to massive, city-wide responses to three San Jacinto valley high schools in as many months officials are asking parents to get involved and have “meaningful conversations” with their children about conflict resolution and what to do when on-campus violence does happen. At least two of the fights ended with officers injured and the arrest of one or more students.

All three major incidents resulted in students being injured, and all three caused huge, multi-agency emergency responses to the campuses.

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Two of the last three incidents, including yesterday’s large fight at Hemet’s Tahquitz High School and a wild melee at Hemet’s West Valley High School in mid-October where an officer was kicked and battered, happened during the campus’ lunch periods.

During another highly publicized fight that erupted just off campus at San Jacinto High School in late September a student tackled a deputy to the ground and disarmed the deputy of his baton. Video of all three incidents emerged within minutes of the separate incidents.

After the second large brawl on a Hemet campus in less than a month, Hemet PD today said the most recent incident began during the school’s regularly scheduled lunch period.

Police officers from around the city responded to Tahquitz High School after the school’s resource officer “observed several students violently attacking each other, to include punching and kicking someone on the ground,” HPD explained.

“Attempts by staff members from the school to intervene and stop the fights were unsuccessful,” and despite the office’s intervention the fight continued and the students refused to comply.

Fearing for the safety of the student who was “being kicked and punched while defenseless on the ground” as well as the safety of other students involved in the fight, the vastly outnumbered officer “deployed pepper spray to disburse those students who were fighting,” HPD explained.

During the melee the officer put out an emergency radio call for help and additional resources, including pepper ball rifles to help disperse the hordes of students cheering on and filming the ongoing fight.

Based on the priority radio call for help, officers, detectives, special teams’ members, and supervisors raced to the campus from all ends of the city.

Several students and staff members later reported being exposed to pepper spray and everyone who reported exposure was evaluated and treated at the school by paramedics and and only minor injuries were reported, according to HPD.

Although officers are still investigating this most recent incident, officials say the brawl appeared to be related to an “ongoing feud between students.”

As with the other recent large school fights, video has begun to emerge of yesterday’s brawl and officials have requested that copies of those videos be turned over to Hemet PD or campus administrators to aid in their ongoing investigation.

Hemet PD has also made a plea to parents, asking that every parent “have meaningful conversations with their children about the appropriate way to handle confrontations on campus.”

“Additionally, in today’s social media dependent environment, it is important to remind our children of the dangers they may face running towards violent incidents like this just to capture a video and ignoring both police and school staff warnings to stay away.”

Anyone with further information about yesterday’s fight or who has or knows of video related to the incident is encouraged to contact Hemet PD at (951) 765-2400. Callers can remain anonymous.

 

Original story: BREAKING: Large emergency response after lunch-time fight at Hemet’s Tahquitz HS

HEMET — Officers are on scene of a large fight that reportedly broke out at Tahquitz High School today, Thursday, Nov. 8. Numerous officers rushed to the scene after an officer at the school put out an emergency broadcast requesting more officers and additional resources to the school’s campus.

No details about what may have led to the fight and large police response after the fight was reported this afternoon while students were eating lunch in the school’s main lunch area.

Although the cause of the fight is not yet known, the incident is similar to a school lunch-time brawl that happened at West Valley High School in mid-October that caused a city-wide response, and another school fight in late September in San Jacinto, during which a deputy was tackled to the ground by a student and disarmed of his baton.

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Nearly a dozen Hemet PD officers raced to the high school around 12:30 p.m., after an officer at the location reported a large fight in the school’s main lunch area, official radio traffic at the time indicated.

Officers flooded onto the campus of Tahquitz High after an officer at the school reported a large fight and that pepper spray had been deployed. Tina Rivas/Hemet Valley Incidents photo

The officer reported that pepper spray had been deployed with students affected and made an emergency request for more officers and less-lethal options including pepperball rifles to help break up those involved in the fight as well as the unruly crowd.

Fire and rescue personnel and AMR was also requested to respond to the school for any potential victims of the initially reported fight as well as to treat anyone affected by pepper spray exposure.

After the emergency broadcast officers from around the city converged on the campus, located at 4425 Titan Trail, southwest of W. Esplanade Ave. and N. Cawston Ave., and students and witnesses at the school reported the incident was quickly brought under control.

School administrators reportedly ended lunch early and all students were ordered back to their classes, as officers and school officials regained control of the campus and students.

Area residents whose children attend the school later shared updates from their kids on social media, including one father who said his daughter texted that she was OK and safe, but that the school was locked down. According to the father, his daughter reported that students were being told to shelter in place within their classrooms.

Other students reported to their parents being locked into the school’s gym and that nobody was being allowed to leave, while another parent reported her daughter told her about the fight and subsequent police response saying, “It was nuts, there were police everywhere.”

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It is not yet known if anyone was injured or arrested during the incident and officers are still at the school conducting interviews.

Hemet PD has not yet released any information about this incident or their still very active investigation, which is ongoing at the scene.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

 

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year 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.

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