Criminal charges were filed against a 19-year-old man accused of throwing rocks at California Highway Patrol vehicles during a protest outside a rally for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump last week in Costa Mesa.
Luis Fernando Alarcon pleaded not guilty to a felony vandalism charge and a misdemeanor count of inciting a riot, according to court records.
Alarcon, who was arrested outside the rally at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the Orange County Fair and Event Center about 9:10 p.m. Thursday, was allegedly among protesters hurling rocks at two different patrol vehicles, according to CHP Officer Tom Joyce.
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Officers waited until some of the crowd dispersed before moving and handcuffing him, Joyce said. Another suspect has been questioned and investigators are gathering more evidence, Joyce said.
Seventeen others were arrested Thursday on suspicion of refusing to disperse, Costa Mesa police reported. Alarcon was ordered to return to court May 9 for a pretrial hearing.
During the disturbance outside the venue where Trump spoke to supporters, one protester threw a rock that hit a Huntington Beach police horse in the head.