Fight between skateboarder and school custodian caught on video
South Pasadena police are investigating a fight between an unidentified skateboarding teen and a janitor on Tuesday at South Pasadena Middle School.
The incident, apparently filmed by another skateboarder and posted to YouTube, put school custodian Lupe Garcia in the hospital overnight with a fractured cheekbone, broken nose and a number of bruises, South Pasadena Unified Supt. Joel Shapiro said.
In the YouTube video, which has since been made private, Garcia orders a group of skateboarders to leave the campus when one of the youths tells him to “relax” and another mouths off.
Garcia then appears to push, verbally challenge and then chest-bump one of the teens before the two begin to grapple. The teen then pushes Garcia into some nearby bushes before blows are exchanged apparently off-camera and the group of skateboarders flees.
South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartle said witness accounts continue to come forward.
“What we have to go by right now is the video, and that clearly shows the custodian as the primary aggressor against the kid,” Bartle said.
Bartle also said there does not yet appear to be evidence of an altercation before the video camera was turned on, but witnesses are still being interviewed.
South Pasadena police Cpl. Matthew Ronnie said the fracas occurred about 3 p.m., around the time school was letting out for the day.
Police want to interview the kids and get their side of the story, Ronnie said.
Skateboarding is prohibited at public school campuses in South Pasadena, Shapiro said.
When asked about Garcia’s conduct during the incident, Shapiro said schools officials would rely on police investigators to determine facts of the case.
In the meantime, South Pasadena police are providing additional security to public campuses after school hours, Shapiro said.
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