Huntington Beach riot suspect reportedly tweets about police

Illario Niko Johnson, 18, of West Covina has been arrested in connection with the melee that broke out on the streets of Huntington Beach on Sunday after the U.S. Open of Surfing contest.
(Huntington Beach Police Department)

Being identified through social media doesn’t appear to have dissuaded one alleged Huntington Beach rioter from continuously updating his friends on Twitter.

“To everyone that’s tryna hit me up just know that I don’t have my phone the detective had it lol,” wrote a person identifying himself as Illario Niko Johnson on his Twitter account Tuesday night.

Johnson, 18, of West Covina, was booked Wednesday on suspicion of felony arson, inciting a riot, participating in an unlawful assembly and refusing to disperse when ordered, Huntington Beach police said.

On Wednesday, the person wrote the detectives “sure know how to get ahold of me lol.”


“Detective Reilly was so nice right now!” another tweet read. “Why couldn’t he be like that on Monday lol”

PHOTOS: Huntington Beach riot

Authorities allege Johnson set fires along Main Street as an unruly crowd moved into downtown Huntington Beach after the close of the eight-day U.S. Open of Surfing contest. Portable toilets were toppled and windows smashed and several fights broke out as looters grabbed merchandise from stores.

Seven people were arrested Sunday evening as about 250 officers descended on the area to quell the violence.

Two photos went viral after the incident -- one showing a man smashing the front window of the Easyrider Bike Shop with a stop sign, and another showing the same man shouting with his arms in the air.

Those who shared the images on social media indicated they did so in hopes of identifying the person responsible.

The photos were shared thousands of times. “He will pay,” one person wrote.

Many on Twitter and Facebook identified the person in the photos as Johnson, whose name was also published by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets. However, police said Tuesday that investigators spoke to Johnson and determined he was “not the suspect in the photographs.”


A person identified as Johnson acknowledged on his Twitter account Monday that he was seen in videos taken during the disturbance.

“I feel like HB Most Wanted right now!” the person wrote to a friend.


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