Huntington Beach police still haven't ID'd suspect in viral photo

Consider it a case of mis-tweeted identity.

After photos of a suspect in Sunday's U.S. Open of Surfing unrest went viral, many people on social media identified the man they believed was depicted smashing a store window and cheering.

But on Tuesday, Huntington Beach police said the name circulating the Internet was incorrect.

Officials said detectives had spoken to Illario Niko Johnson, and although charges "are expected" against the 18-year-old West Covina resident for his involvement in 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.

Seven people were arrested Sunday evening after a crowd watching the two-week surfing contest left the beach and moved up Main Street, toppling portable toilets and smashing windows along the way. Several fights broke out and looters grabbed merchandise from stores.

The photos that went viral showed a man smashing the Easyrider Bike Shop window with a stop sign and the same man shouting with his arms in the air. Those who shared the photo on social media indicated they did so in hopes of identifying the person responsible.

As of Tuesday morning, one of the photos had been shared nearly 7,300 times on Facebook, the other more than 800. "He will pay," one person wrote.

Some media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, also published Johnson's name.

On his Twitter account, Johnson acknowledged that he was seen in videos taken during the disturbance. "I feel like HB Most Wanted right now!" he wrote to a friend. 

He did not return a request for comment.

Police said they are still looking for the man pictured in the photos, and asked anyone with information to call (714) 375-5066 or send an email.

Twitter: @KateMather

Mather writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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