A fight at a dance club early Friday morning erupted into a bottle-throwing brawl involving almost 200 people and requiring the attention of more than 25 law enforcement officers, authorities said.
Only one person, Carpinteria resident Cesar Miranda, 25, was arrested in the incident at Alexander's Dining and Dancing on Navigator Drive near Ventura Harbor.
After receiving about 300 stitches from injuries caused during the melee by a broken bottle, Miranda was booked on charges of violating his parole and remained in Ventura County Jail on Friday, said Ventura Police Lt. Steve Bowman.
The fight, which started about 1 a.m., drew one of the largest law enforcement responses in recent years, officials said. By the time authorities arrived, most of the customers had moved out to the parking lot and began throwing bottles at the officers.
Authorities spent an hour clearing the scene, but were unable to make more arrests, Bowman said. "To try and go into a crowd and get single people for different things is oftentimes very foolish," Bowman said. "You have to go with the circumstances at the time."
Several people were seen leaving the scene with injuries, but Miranda was the only one transported to the hospital, Bowman said.
Another injured man refused transport, said Don Clobes Jr., a supervisor from the Wilshire Protection security firm, which works for the club.
The club suffered no apparent damage, but Friday morning, patches of dried blood and leftover gauze bandages littered the asphalt in front of the building.
Witnesses told police that Miranda threw a bottle and injured security officer Catherine Moriera, who needed about 30 stitches because of cuts on her left hand, Clobes said. No other officers were injured.
The fight started about 1 a.m. inside the club, which was hosting pop-artist Lina Santiago for a show titled "Santa's Groove." According to club manager Kaye Aina, a couple of people near the dance floor starting fighting, and "everything kind of blew up from there."
The event drew a different crowd than usual to the harbor-side club, Clobes said. During the ensuing brawl, Clobes said, he saw club-goers showing hand signs from Santa Paula and La Colonia gangs. Aina had nine security guards on duty that night; he said he normally hires four or five.
After the fight started with fists, it quickly escalated to involve people throwing bottles and glasses around the club, Clobes said. Officers from his company eventually resorted to using pepper gas to control the crowd.
When police arrived at 1:05 a.m., club-goers had been forced outside to the parking lot, Bowman said. Some threw bottles at police, who called in additional backup from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol.
"We'll be working with managers of the bar to see if we can do something to prevent this from happening in the future," Bowman said.