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

December 5, 2010 |  9:22 am


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)