Fullerton Firefighter Arrested, Accused of Participating in Huntington Beach Riot

Authorities were trying to track down other suspects using social media.

By Jonathan Lloyd, Brandon Lowrey and Vikki Vargas
|  Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013  |  Updated 8:46 AM PDT
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The Fullerton Fire Department has placed a firefighter on paid administrative leave after he was arrested during riots in Huntington Beach riots that followed the U.S. Open of Surfing. Local residents met Tuesday to determine how to handle next year's event. Kim Baldonado reports from Huntington Beach for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

Kim Baldonado

The Fullerton Fire Department has placed a firefighter on paid administrative leave after he was arrested during riots in Huntington Beach riots that followed the U.S. Open of Surfing. Local residents met Tuesday to determine how to handle next year's event. Kim Baldonado reports from Huntington Beach for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

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Huntington Beach Holds Meeting to Discuss Future Safety of U.S. Open Following Riots

The Huntington Beach City Council held a special meeting to discuss Sunday’s riots following the U.S. Open of Surfing. A judge told suspect Chase Scott Christman in court Tuesday that he cannot go back to Huntington Beach where he is accused of vandalism and inciting a riot. Vikki Vargas reports from Huntington Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 30, 2013.

Bike Shop Repairs Window After Vandalism

A bike shop window shattered in Sunday's violence has been replaced as police continue the search for vandals who stormed through the streets Sunday evening after a surf competition. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday July 30, 2013.
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A Fullerton firefighter was among those arrested on suspicion of participating in the Huntington Beach riot over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

Michael John Lytle, 30, of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest., Fullerton city officials said. He has been placed on administrative leave.

"With firefighters, it’s especially tough because we hold ourselves to such a high standard," Fullerton Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe told NBC4.

Also on Tuesday, Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley, pleaded not guilty to vandalism and other charges. A Superior Court judge ordered him not to return to Huntington Beach.

Authorities were focusing on a man who was photographed smashing a bike shop display window with a stop sign Sunday as a violent crowd stormed the community after a surfing contest.

Read: Social Media Response to Huntington Beach Violence

Police asked for help identifying the man seen in the image (right) and another in which he appears to be celebrating with arms raised. The photo is one of several used by investigators as they attempt to identify individuals involved in Sunday's violence along Main Street.

Video of the vandalism at the Easyrider bike shop also was captured on video. The video shows a man smashing the display window before employees begin wrestling with member of the crowd for an expensive bicycle.

That video was taken by Margo Hamman, an 18-year-old photography student from Huntington Beach, who rushed to the scene to capture footage of the riot. She said her boyfriend, Ben, was trying to defend the store when a rioter sucker-punched him.

One bicycle was stolen, another was saved when Ben and other members of the crowd stepped in to help employees defend the store.

The shattered window was replaced Tuesday morning.

Social media, including the Huntington Beach police Facebook page, has played a prominent role in the investigation. After posting the image on its Facebook page, the department received several responses from people claiming to know the subject's identity.

The photo and call for help were issued as the Orange County District Attorney announced the arraignment of another person accused in the disturbance. Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley is charged with one felony count of vandalism, one misdemeanor count of inciting a riot, and one misdemeanor count of refusal to disperse.

Arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

The violence began after the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which includes surfing, skateboarding and BMX biking events. Several witnesses told NBC4 the disturbance started with a fistfight in downtown Huntington Beach. City vehicles, newspaper racks, street signs, portable toilets and other items were damaged in the wave of violence on and near Main Street.

Call police at 714-375-5066 or email hbpdfiles@gmail.com with information.

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