A conference for local-government officials began with cooler heads, but it devolved into an outright brawl.
The Cerritos Community News and The Los Angeles Times reported the conference battle Sunday at the Indian Wells resort. Several attendees began throwing punches and it resulted in at least one person being knocked unconscious, witnesses reported.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the fight broke out at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa around 12:30 a.m. where seven people were involved in “an altercation and physical battery.” One person was hospitalized.
None of the people involved “were cooperative,” Deputy Mike Vasquez told The Times, noting that there were no arrests.
It’s unclear who started the fight, but it involved members of the Commerce City Council and other officials, a written statement from Mayor John Soria said.
Official City Statement
"The City has been made aware of reports of a confrontation between some City officials that took place outside of the City's jurisdiction. Given that, and the fact that the City is unclear on the specifics, the City has no further comment at this time."ADVERTISEMENT
— City of Commerce (@CityOfCommerce) May 19, 2019
“It was a hectic scene,” one witness said.
The Times reported that a photo was circulating among local officials showing Councilman Leonard Mendoza on the ground with blood at his feet. Another man is seen checking Mendoza’s pulse.
Mayor Soria said that he learned Mendoza and colleague Ivan Altamirano were talking about something when it “became elevated.” Mayor Soria “went to the area to defuse any potential conflict,” and that’s when he saw Mendoza on the ground. Altamirano was nearby “with a facial injury.”
Altamirano was then attacked “from behind by two individuals” according to Soria.
“I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults,” Soria said. “Once additional information is available I intend to call on my council colleagues to take appropriate action regarding any individuals that represent the City of Commerce who were involved in the incident.”