Beating of Couple in Front of Crowd Probed

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives are investigating a weekend melee in Palmdale in which a group of men beat a man and a woman while a crowd looked on in a parking lot where teen-agers congregate on weekends, authorities said Monday.

Joel Houtz, 22, was cut and bruised when he was beaten and kicked by about eight men during the attack at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, deputies said. His girlfriend, Rebecca Campbell, 21, suffered cuts, bruises and a broken ankle.

The altercation began when several men harassed and pinched her as she and Houtz were leaving a bar, Campbell said. Words and then blows were exchanged, she said.

Sheriff's officials discounted reports that some in the crowd of about 100 cheered during the attack, though they said no one came to the couple's aid and some onlookers joined the fray when Campbell's car grazed a teen-age girl as Campbell tried to get help for Houtz.

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