A beach disturbance after the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., forced police to use pepper spray Monday to calm the riot that ended in property damage and the arrest of eight people.
The Associated Press said a mob of people refused to leave
after the three-day surfing competition ended in Southern California, knockeing over portable toilets and causing damage to at least one business.
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A Huntington Beach police lieutenant said the surfing competition sometimes causes a few minor arrests, but not this level of problems, according to the AP.
Witness Russ Mundi saw the disturbances and told the Los Angeles Times he smelled something like tear gas
. “I heard shots going off, and the whole crowd just started running,” Mundi said.
The AP said events started to get out of hand when a fight broke out in the crowd after the surf competition. When police tried to break up the fight, a mob of people moved toward the downtown area, pulling down a stop sign that one man then used to smash a window in a local bicycle shop.
"You see a mob of people running up the street,” store owner Bert Etheredge told the AP. “That’s when we decided to shut down the shop and turn off all the lights, lock everything and kind of go into hiding, if you will.”
Etheredge said people jumped in and took bikes from the store after the window was broken.
On its website, the U.S. Open of Surfing stated
: “We’re extremely disappointed and saddened by the disturbance that occurred up on Main St after the close of the US Open of Surfing. We work tirelessly with City staff, police, fire and other agencies to ensure a safe environment for all. We appreciate the quick response of HBPD and are awaiting further information.”
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