Ocean Beach

Student's Jaw Broken During Violent Attack in Ocean Beach

An argument over a fire pit spiraled out of control, leading to a violent attack in San Diego's Ocean Beach neighborhood on June 15

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San Diego police are investigating a violent attack in Ocean Beach on June 15.

A pair of local college students told NBC 7 that an argument over a fire pit spiraled out of control.

One of the students captured the tail end of the fight on video in a last-minute attempt to identify the accused aggressors. “I got your [expletive] faces!,” the person who shot the video can be heard yelling in the background. The alleged attackers can be seen lunging at the camera and yelling expletives to the young man who was recording.

Before the day turned violent, Kobe La and his girlfriend, Kristina Castillo, said their trip to Ocean Beach started like any other.

“Grill some hamburgers, hot dogs, we had some music going,” Castillo said.

Born and raised in San Diego County, the two said they often visit the area near Tower 5 at Ocean Beach. Castillo said that when they arrived last week, they 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.”

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, eventually undergoing a three-hour surgery.

La said he is unable to open his mouth and is on a liquid diet out of work until he heals. Castillo said she thinks 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.

San Diego police told NBC 7 that they are investigating the incident as a battery case and that details could not be shared about the case until Monday, when a public information officer or detective on the case returns to work.

NBC 7 blurred the faces of the accused aggressors captured in the video because police haven't confirmed that they are looking at them as suspects.

La said that, through tips on social media, he and his friends have identified three of the five people who were involved in the incident and that they are working to identify the others.

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