Santa Ana man threw fireworks at police during protest, authorities say
Santa Ana police officers have arrested a man they say threw fireworks at authorities and brandished a handgun during a Sunday protest over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Police observed a man throwing what was described as “mortars” at a line of officers and Orange County sheriff’s deputies, Santa Ana police spokesman Anthony Bertagna said.
Officers monitored the man — later identified as Jon Paul Worden, 32 — after spotting a handgun on his hip and then watching him show the weapon to other protesters. The gun was hidden by the man’s shirt, and police watched as he lifted his shirt and brandished the firearm at other protesters.
Police did not apprehend Worden at the demonstration because of concerns about the safety of the crowd, Bertagna said.
Los Angeles officials said they will look to cut up to $150 million from the police budget as part of a wider effort to reinvest more dollars into the local black community.
“Although the overwhelming majority of demonstrations have responsibly involved nonviolent participants, armed suspects such as in this case, [compromise] the safety of everyone involved,” Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin said.
“Originally we had 1,500, 1,700 peacefully marching, expressing their 1st Amendment rights,” Bertagna said.
Police made 10 arrests at the protest, and two officers were transported and treated for injuries related to fireworks thrown at them, Bertagna said.
Officers followed Worden and a man later identified as his father after the protest. Police tried to stop their vehicle and eventually called off a pursuit because of Worden’s erratic driving, according to a news release said.
The vehicle was later found at Worden’s residence in the 2600 block of West Stanford Street. After a Santa Ana Police Department helicopter spotted him leaving the back of the home, officers detained him.
Black Lives Matter organizers wanted to bring the rage over the George Floyd case and so many others to L.A.'s elites, in their own neighborhoods.
A search of the house uncovered more than 600 pounds of illegal fireworks and mortars and a cache of weapons, including four AR-15 assault weapons. In addition, thousands of rounds of ammunition, several high-capacity magazines and bulletproof and load-bearing tactical vests were found, police said.
Worden was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm and ammunition after felony, assaulting officers with a deadly weapon and possessing high-capacity magazines. He was released from custody after posting $50,000 bond, Bertagna said Wednesday.
Worden’s father was also detained but released and not booked, authorities said.
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