4 Marines Arrested for Assault, Possible Hate Crime in Long Beach

The incident in which four Camp Pendleton Marines were arrested is being investigated as a "possible hate crime"

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    Four Camp Pendleton Marines are out on bail after their arrest over Labor Day weekend following a possible hate crime and assault in Long Beach.

    The four suspects – identified by a Camp Pendleton public affairs official as Lance Cpl. Lewis Serna, Pfc. Thomas Pentek, Pfc. Sean Miller and Lance Cpl. John O'Leary – were arrested in connection with an alleged assault on another man outside a bar at 2 a.m. Monday.

    Two other individuals who came to the aid of the victim at Fourth Street and Redondo Avenue were also injured, according to information provided by Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Massacani.

    One victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, she said. The others involved had minor or no injuries.

    The incident occurred outside the Silver Fox as the gay bar was closing, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

    The bar's manager told the Long Beach newspaper that one of the perpetrators called him "sweetheart" in a "demeaning" way. The manager said the suspect punched a much smaller, younger gay man, the newspaper reported.

    Major M. J. Delarosa, a spokesman for I Marine Expeditionary Force at the San Diego County Marine Corps base, said in an email that officials there were gathering information "to ensure we have a full-understanding of this incident."

    He said the Marine Corps was cooperating with Long Beach police and would be conducting its own investigation as well. Delarosa identified the four Marines who were arrested and said they had posted bail and returned to their units.

    "This is an isolated incident; committing any hate crime is unacceptable behavior and is not tolerated in the Marine Corps," Delarosa said.

    The case is set to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on or before Sept. 11, according to Massacani.

    Long Beach has seen two alleged hate crimes this year -- one racially motivated and one religion-related, Massacani said. There were five hate crimes in Long Beach in 2011, she said, though she could not provide details.

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