O.C. firefighter among those arrested in Huntington Beach rioting

One of the suspects arrested in connection with looting and rioting in Huntington Beach has been identified as a Fullerton firefighter.

Anaheim resident Michael John Lytle, 30, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in connection with the disturbance that broke out after the eight-day U.S. Open of Surfing ended Sunday.

Gretchen Beatty, director of human resources for the city of Fullerton, confirmed that Lytle is a firefighter and has been placed on paid leave while “there is an investigation on the personnel side.”

Beatty said the city of Huntington Beach will conduct the criminal investigation.


She said Lytle was hired as a firefighter in February 2008, which was first reported by the Orange County Register.

Six other people were also arrested, including Huntington Beach resident Andres Gomez, 24, who was booked on suspicion of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

Michael Anthony Avila, 28, of Santa Ana; Joseph Monterrosa, 28, of Ontario; Adam A. Cecot, 18, of Irvine; Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley; and Kyle Roger Crott, 18, of Riverside were also booked on charges related to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Huntington Beach Police said there could be further arrests.


Authorities are still trying to identify a man videotaped smashing a store window with a stop sign and cheering.

Many people had misidentified that suspect on social media. Huntington Beach police said detectives had spoken to Illario Niko Johnson, 18, and although charges “are expected” against the West Covina resident in connection with the disturbance, his alleged actions were “not related to the window smash.”

“He is not the suspect in the photograph,” police said in a statement.

Sunday evening, unruly beachgoers tipped over portable restrooms, sending waste flowing onto the road. They also rocked a city of Huntington Beach pickup truck, and threw traffic cones and wooden planks pulled from barricades at the truck’s windows after failing to flip it.

Huntington Beach police fired pepper balls and nonlethal projectiles to quell the crowd. Several officers sustained minor injuries, and one person was treated and released from a hospital after being hit by a rubber projectile.


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