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Witnesses: Rose Bowl brawl wasn't tied to USC-UCLA rivalry


Some witnesses to the brawl in a Rose Bowl parking lot before the USC- UCLA football game Saturday that sent two men to the hospital with stab wounds dispute claims that the incident was caused by school rivalries.

Police initially said they believed the fight was over fan rivalry. But friends of the victims denied that was a factor.

"It was just drunken guys looking to start a fight," said Renee Breceda, the girlfriend of one of the stabbing victims, Joshua Dirling.

The fight started about 4:30 p.m. in parking lot 1 on the north side of the Rose Bowl, where dozens of people had been tailgating and drinking since 6:30 a.m. in advance of the game that evening.

Police called to the scene found 50 to 75 people fighting, said Cmdr. Darryl Qualls of the Pasadena Police Department. It took more than 15 minutes to break up the brawl, resulting in minor injuries to two officers, Qualls said.

Witnesses said the fight broke out after a group of tailgaters threw a football that accidentally hit a black Mercedes-Benz belonging to another group of fans who also had been partying for hours.

Joshua Dirling's brother, Matthew Dirling, said a plastic surgeon at Huntington Memorial Hospital told him the tip of a knife is still embedded in his brother's cheekbone, but that it was best to leave it there until doctors see how the wound heals.

Police arrested Arturo Cisneros, 44, on suspicion of attempted murder. Joshua Elder, 23, and Steve Radu, 27, were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.


Winds, rains returning to L.A. Sunday night

-- Alan Zarembo, Ben Bolch and Mike Hiserman in Pasadena

Photo: A van is loaded with people arrested for being drunk and other violations after two people were stabbed in a pregame brawl in the Rose Bowl parking lot. (Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times / December 4, 2010)

Comments () | Archives (53)

Perhaps if the game time wasn't set for 7:30pm the crowd wouldn't have had 12 hours of drinking time waiting for the start. It was an invitation to all the idiots that would rather act up and act right.

Ban alcohol!!

As a current USC student it is a shame that so many non-USC/ucla graduates are willing to party and fight over schools that dont care about you. I was harassed by so many ucla "fans" who appeared to be looking for trouble. No fights occur on USC campus tailgates because most tailgaters are students or alumni. Hopefully in 2 years the game will be held at 1pm to avoid the fights from losers trying to represent something that they have no clue about.

I hope the knife leaves a giant scar. There is never a reason to fight someone. In a situation like this, there is always the opportunity to walk away.

note to self: next time do not start drinking at 6:30AM for a game that starts at 5PM!

Fast track'em through the system. Then toss'em in the hell holes that pass for prisons.

Considering UCLA's passing ability and the high priced tuition at USC, one should be able to ascertain which fan threw the errant pass and which fan's Mercedes was hit.

USC Doctor - you're joking right? The Coliseum is one of the least friendly places on earth for opposing teams to tailgate, and it's in part because of the neighborhood residents who feel some oblique connection to USC because they live there. As a CAL alum, I've had bottles and cans thrown at our tailgate and have been generally harassed by people every time we've set up there, all by people who - I'm sure - never attended USC. Maybe you have the perception that you do because a lot of them throw things from their cars and don't stick around long enough to actually get in a fight?

uh. Dont they see the Bruins jersey on the suspect? Next rewrite this incident will be chalked up to a kitchen accident at the tailgate.

How many of those involved were actually USC or UCLA alumni?

Tailgating is an excuse to drink. Sporting events should not allow the parking lots to be open until one hour prior to the commencement of the game. Alcholic beverages should be banned from all parking lots.

Having the game start earlier is NOT the solution. An earlier game does not mean less hours of drinking....it means that more people binge drink as fast as possible. The solution is more security and more police. I for one, would hate to see the rivalry game start early. Myself, my family and my friends enjoy cooking, hanging out, and making a fun filled day out of it. Don't let these idiots ruin tradition!

What were Raider fans doing at the game?

Sad part is even is the game was slated for 9AM there would still be that 1% drunken small brain people who start fights.

I went to UCLA and I know plenty 1%'ers from BOTH schools. I also know plenty of the derelicts who never made it to collage.

Sadly, college events used to be family oriented.

I wouldn't bring kids anywhere near a college game these days.

It's no longer about school pride and fun rivalries.

Now it's about drinking, acting stupidly, and being obnoxious in "support" of a school you never attended.

I don't think that the game time should be a factor. Maybe a little more security and regulating the ones that are obviously far to drunk. To the guy who said "ban alcohol" ... Quiet down. I don't know if you live anywhere near a college football stadium or have ever been to a college football game, but banning alcohol is not the answer. And to the individual who said that they hope the knife leaves "a big scar" you should feel ashamed of yourself. Ever been threatened or stabbed with a knife?? You are an idiot for wishing something like that on another.

Funny how Ken and Barbie comment on how the involved individuals "must not UCLA or USC students"...Paleezeeee wake up and smell the coffee morons. You sure don't like it when it hits close to home do ya?

Uhh...that pic for this story shows a hoodlum handcuffed while wearing a ucla jersey. Case closed.

These are the same knuckleheads that show up at Dodger games, throw beer and use profanity in front of their own children. I'll bet you that none of these idiots even finished high school, they weren't students or graduates of SC or UCLA.

Solution? Ban Football Raves!

@ USC Doctor: I personally know about a dozen people who graduated from different LA area universities, jumped on the SC bandwagon a long time ago and are season ticket holders. I also know a few others who attend UCLA games and have never even gone to a university. Remember, LA has no NFL team so the next best thing for anyone wanting to attend a football game is college football.

Alcohol, illiterates, guns, knives, brainless all-brawn muscle-headed gang bangers, violence, destruction, death, emergency room, cemetery, boo-hoo how could this happen? Welcome to the New American landscape of social reality. This country has turned into a rogues gallery of wild, rabid animals. Thank goodness for ESPN although even watching the game on TV in the living room is not that safe these days.

We used to have this problem at the Berkeley-Stanford games, so both schools let everyone know that the police would instantly clamp down on anything resembling a fight. Strict boundaries prevent the usual handful of drunk idiots from ruining it for the rest of us.

Manslaughter charges for a football and a car. What a waste. Ban alcohol. Only way to solve that issue. Allowing Drinking for 12 hours is insane. If bartenders are responsible for drunks then parking management is responsible for this. That will wake the lot owners up. Stabbing people? Really? Sounds like some peeps looking for blood anyway.

Not only are the losers who fight at a ball game unlikely alumni of the school they "represent"....they don't read newspapers either.

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