H.B. police release names of 7 arrested in riot

At least one bike was stolen Sunday night. Passersby persuaded others to stop looting.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Huntington Beach Police Department on Monday released the names of seven people arrested during a riot downtown following the U.S. Open of Surfing.

The following people were arrested and booked at the city jail Sunday:

•Michael John Lytle, 30, of Anaheim, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

•Andres Gomez, 24, of Huntington Beach, was arrested on suspicion of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

•Michael Anthony Avila, 28, of Santa Ana, was arrested on suspicion of resisting or delaying a police officer.

•Joseph Monterrosa, 28, of Ontario, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

•Adam A. Cecot, 18, of Irvine, was arrested on suspicion of refusing to disperse/unlawful assembly.

•Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism over $400, urging destruction of property and refusing to disperse/unlawful assembly.

•Kyle Roger Crott, 18, of Riverside, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Police responded to reports of a large crowd at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, about three blocks south of the bike store, at 7:16 p.m. after the end of the eight-day surfing contest, Huntington Beach Police Lt. Mitch O’Brien said Sunday. The uncooperative crowd moved into the downtown area after police tried to stop a fight. Police had the area under control by 9 p.m., he said in a statement.

Authorities also said Monday afternoon that no serious injuries were reported, though several officers suffered minor injuries and at least one person was treated at the hospital and released after being struck with a rubber projectile a law enforcement agency fired.

Meanwhile, Huntington Beach officials commended public safety officers for their quick work during Sunday’s riot, but were disappointed on how the U.S. Open of Surfing ended.

“This council prioritizes the safety and comfort of our residents above all else,” Mayor Connie Boardman said at a press conference Monday afternoon at Huntington Beach Pier Plaza. “Our city’s public safety officials demonstrated that unwavering commitment yesterday, acting quickly and responsibly to minimize the impact of the incident.”

Boardman, Huntington Beach police Chief Ken Small and IMG senior vice president James Leitz told the public that they will be working with one another in the future to improve the event and prevent another incident like this from happening.

“Our downtown task force, including residents, business owners and the City Council, will be formed within the next two weeks and I am confident that a task force will develop recommendations to make this event safer next year,” Boardman said.

She also said that a special meeting is being held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to allow residents to voice their concerns about the issue.

Small said around 100 Huntington Beach officers were at the scene, alongside about 150 officers from outside agencies. He added that using the mutual aid is of no cost to the city.

The chief said he was impressed with how officers handled the incident, commending them for the small amount of injuries and damage done to the downtown businesses.

“There was limited and measured use of force by law enforcement officers, including the use of pepper balls and non-lethal projectiles,” Small said. “The law enforcement officers, in my view, used a great deal of restraint when facing a barrage of bottles, bricks, rocks and other devices being thrown at them from a crowd of people who repeatedly failed to disperse after being ordered to do so.”

Leitz has put together the U.S Open for the past 14 years and said this year’s competition was the best one to date, but said Sunday night was spoiled by what he called “a few rotten apples.”

“We’ve had large groups before any day of this week and every year on the hour, it comes down to a few people,” he said. “They play a game of cat and mouse. They’ll start something here then go there. And that’s exactly what happened.”

He estimated over 100,000 people at the beach Sunday.

Leitz said he wants to see the U.S. Open continue in Huntington Beach and will continue to work with the city and sponsors to work out the kinks.

“We’ll reach back to the roots of the event and amplify the sport again and look very closely at how we schedule things,” he said. “We didn’t change our plan at all and the beach ran perfectly. But a couple knuckleheads can do a lot of damage.”

Police are looking at videos and pictures from residents and social media to identify additional suspects involved in criminal activity, according to Monday’s statement.

Bike shop Easyrider, 528 Main St., was broken into with a $500 bike stolen. Employee Bert Etheredge prevented a roughly $5,000 custom bike from being taken as well.

Previous reports said eight people were arrested, but police were not immediately available to explain who the eighth person was.

Anyone with information is asked to email or call the police hotline at (714) 375-5066.