Brawl between families at Raging Waters in Sacramento started with fight over beach towel

A water slide at Raging Waters in Sacramento
People ride a water slide at Raging Waters in Sacramento. A fight broke out at the water park over the weekend, resulting in one man being injured.
(Andrew Seng / Associated Press)

An argument over a beach towel at a Northern California water park on Sunday escalated to a brawl between families that seriously injured a man.

Police were called to the Raging Waters in Sacramento about 3:30 p.m. to break up a scuffle involving about 40 people inside the park. The conflict involved two families, each with 15 to 20 members, but not all of them were trading blows, Cal Expo Police Department Chief Everest Robillard told reporters at the scene.

When the fight was over, officials found a 35-year-old Modesto man unconscious and without a heartbeat. Paramedics performed CPR and took him to UC Davis Medical Center, Robillard said.


Video from the scene shows paramedics wheeling a man out of the park on a stretcher and loading him into an ambulance. The man was listed in stable condition Sunday evening. An update to his condition was not available Tuesday.

Robillard told the Sacramento Bee that the families told police conflicting accounts of what happened in the park, but there were claims that a member of one family took a beach towel belonging to the other family.

The feud apparently grew to insults and profanity, with one family upset that foul language was used in front of children, before it escalated to blows. Authorities suspect alcohol also played a role in the fight, Robillard said.

Gonzalo Bustante told Fox40 that he was with his family in the park when he saw a big group yelling back and forth.

“Next thing I see a chair getting broken over some guy’s head,” he told the station.

The water park closed early and customers were escorted out after the brawl. No one has been arrested, but authorities are continuing to investigate and are looking for witnesses who could help shed light on the incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.