San Diego police are reviewing potential charges for the person, or people, responsible for breaking a young man’s jaw during a violent attack in Ocean Beach on June 15.
On Thursday a lieutenant with SDPD told NBC 7 that no arrests had been made.
“At this time no arrests have been made and we are still actively investigating to make an accurate determination for the appropriate charges we feel we can prove with the prosecutors. The original report was taken as a battery. The precise charges we will evaluate when we have all the information,” Lieutenant Michael Stirk wrote in an email.
The incident stemmed from an argument over a firepit, according to Kobe La and Kristina Castillo. The couple said they are San Diego County natives and often spend time near Tower 5 at Ocean Beach with friends, which is where they were Tuesday. Castillo said she, and about 15 other friends, set up camp near a fire pit, where an unattended, broken chair was placed a few feet from a trash can. She said they waited to see if it belonged to anyone before they claimed the fire pit.
“From 12 p.m. all the way to 7 p.m., no one came to claim it, so we decided to set up closer,” Castillo said.
Shortly after, Castillo said, they were confronted by a man who she described as “aggressive.”
“He was saying this is his fire pit and his beach,” Castillo said.
Castillo said one of her friends tried to reason with the man, but he only became more agitated.
“So the guy starts putting his shoulders out, his hands, up and like, ‘You wanna go? You wanna go?’ He throws his shirt off and starts pounding his chest,” Castillo recalled.
Then, Castillo said the man, who identified himself as a 35-year-old local, threatened the group of students: “'Wait till it gets dark -- I’ll get you,' and he started cussing a lot," he said.
Castillo said that two hours later, the 35-year-old came back with two other men and two women, but this time it turned physical. La said his friend was punched, so he ran over to try to de-escalate the situation.
“As soon as I put a hand in, I got hit in the face," La said. "I was hit more than one time that night, and other people were hit with chairs and other things. It could’ve been much worse. I could definitely see myself not being here."
Castillo said she called the police and the group of alleged attackers ran back to their car in the parking lot and drove off.
“I distinctly remember hearing them say, like, ‘If you guys are here any later, we’re going to shoot all of you,'" La said. "That’s the last thing I heard from them."
La said he didn’t realize how badly he was injured until he woke up the following morning and saw his jaw. He needed a three-hour surgery to fix it.
La said he is unable to open his mouth and is on a liquid diet. He's also out of work until he heals. Castillo said she thinks her four other friends were also injured. One of the accused aggressors could be seen on video with blood on his face. It's not clear how he was injured or the extent of his injury.
One of the students, who caught the tail end of the fight on video, told La that he was hoping to use the footage to identify the accused aggressors. In the video you could hear one woman yell, “You yellow.. you yellow [expletive]!” La told NBC 7 that he didn’t hear the racial slur at first.
“I think the fact that because we are Asian, smaller, younger, it’s easier to target us,” said La.
“I think it gave an extra motivation to pursue us,” added Castillo.
It’s not clear if the people in the video are suspects, have been contacted or questioned by police.