La Mesa

La Mesa Shop Owner Arrested After Attack on San Diego Media

Video shot by KUSI's Dan Plante appears to show Carzis striking, threatening, and screaming profanities at reporters and photojournalists

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A La Mesa shop owner -- already the subject of a sexual harassment investigation -- was arrested on battery and vandalism charges Tuesday following a physical altercation between him and local media members recorded on video.

Peter Carzis, 76, was being investigated for reports of alleged harassment on female customers when members of the news media appeared at his shop, Peter's Men's Apparel on La Mesa Boulevard, Monday afternoon.

When KUSI’s Dan Plante, KUSI photojournalist Mike Saucedo and other local media members attempted to interview Carzis about the allegations, he became combative.

Media members told NBC 7 they witnessed Carzis push a female reporter outside of the store, which prompted several reporters and photojournalists to come to her aid. Carzis responded with physical and verbal attacks.

Video shot by Plante appears to show Carzis striking, threatening, and screaming profanities at reporters and photojournalists.

The La Mesa Police Department said Carzis is accused of "battering multiple reporters and causing irreparable damage to a video camera reported to be worth approximately $7,000."

Carzis could not be found after the clash, prompting police to conduct a sweep of the city that stretched into the night. He was located early Tuesday morning and taken into custody.

Carzis also faces a second battery charge and a charge of committing a lewd act in public from separate incidents that occurred on Saturday, LMPD Lt. Greg Runge confirmed.

LMPD began investigating Carzis after videos of alleged harassment were shared over the weekend by La Mesa residents on social media, including the La Mesa Happenings Facebook group.

In one video, Carzis appears to have his hands up a woman's shirt.

NBC 7's Joe Little spoke to three women who said the behavior has been going on for far too long.

"La Mesa PD is aware of the video posted on the La Mesa Happenings group and will be following up with any potential victims," the police department said in response.

The videos from the weekend prompted another video from June 2019 -- allegedly showing Carzis yelling profanities at a woman -- to recirculate.

The community's response to the videos led NBC 7 and other San Diego news outlets to the clothing store Monday afternoon.

The clothing store's Yelp page was also flooded with reviews in recent days describing unwanted encounters with the shop owner.

La Mesa City Council Member Kristine Allesio also reported a run-in while inside the clothing store.

Others allege that the shop owner spit towards them as they walked past the store.

The other accounts have not been verified by police but authorities say they are aware of the allegations and are investigating the claims.

Citizens have asked the Chamber of Commerce to shut down the man's businesses but Council Member Allesio said until the owner is charged with a crime, local leaders' hands are tied.

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