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LAPD steps up patrols in Venice Beach after brawl

May 31, 2010 |  8:07 am

The Los Angeles Police Department is stepping up patrols on Memorial Day along Venice Beach after a large brawl broke out Sunday evening.

Police are still trying to sort out what happened on Sunday night during the incident, which involved about 70 people.

Capt. Jon Peters, commanding officer of the LAPD's Pacific Division, said the fight erupted just before 8 p.m. on the boardwalk near 17th and Windward avenues. The fight moved north, breaking up and then starting again near that section of the beach.

Police officers, already heavily deployed to the area because of expected large crowds, flooded in on bikes, motorcycles and helicopters to break it up.

By 9 p.m. it was over, with no serious injuries reported and no weapons confiscated. About 20 people had been detained and one person was arrested, police said.

Hythum Kiswani, the owner of Santino's sandwich shop near Windward Avenue, saw the fight. "It was a bunch of kids," he said, guessing their ages at between 14 and 17 years old. "In a split second, it was mayhem."

Kiswani said that police arrived seconds later and that he counted 17 squad cars and eight motorcycle officers within minutes.

Peters said he did not know what had sparked the fight but police were investigating the incident as potentially gang-related.

-- John Hoeffel and Andrew Blankstein