Lily Pond Water Fight Organizer Apologizes

Matthew Hardick has identified himself as one of nine organizers to the event

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    An organizer of the now-infamous Balboa Park water gun fight has stepped forward, apologizing for the event that ended in thousands of dollars of damage.

    Matthew Hardick has identified himself as one of nine organizers to the August 11 event in an interview with a local television station.

    The midnight water fight, with an estimated 1500 to 2000 people taking part, caused an estimated $10,000 in damage according to city officials.

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    City Park and Recreation workers have been working for several days to repair the damage done to the iconic lily pond in front of the Botanical Building as well as the North Fountain in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.

    The suspects left behind water guns and remnants of water balloons, park officials said.

    In an exclusive interview with KFMB, Hardick said he was responsible for organizing the event through a Facebook invitation as a way for people to enjoy a clean and sober activity.

    "I'm devastated and I'm so remorseful for what happened, and to all the people this has affected and angered, and that's why I'm here," Hardick told KFMB.

    Hardick said a similar event last year had only a few dozen attendees and that he and other organizers were excited to see so many people attend over the weekend.

    However, he says in the interview, the event started to escalate and get out of hand.

    He told KFMB he has reached out to San Diego police who are investigating the damage done to the public park.

    On Wednesday, San Diego police said it could take up to six weeks to build a solid case. Investigators said they have been challenged with identifying suspects through videos and photos posted online from the late-night water fight.

    If suspects are identified, police said investigators will be tasked with proving whether any of the suspects were intentionally vandalizing the pond.

    “We can only try those that you can put a case together on. So we would have to have video proof or enough witnesses to convince the jury that they committed an act that was criminal,” explained SDPD Chief William Lansdowne.

    Suspects could face vandalism charges or be required to provide reimbursements for the damages to the Balboa Park landmark.

    Anyone with information about those involved is urged to contact police.

    Meanwhile, police said they are working closer with the security at Balboa Park to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

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