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Anaheim mob damages businesses, sets fires after police shootings

July 25, 2012 |  7:14 am

Businesses were surveying the damage in downtown Anaheim after a night of violence in which 24 people were arrested and six injured.

Anaheim police were still assessing the fallout from the unrest, which took place amid growing outrage over a pair of fatal officer-involved shootings over the weekend.

"I think that given the totality of the circumstances, actually things turned out very good," said Sgt. Robert Dunn, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department.

Photos: Protest against Anaheim police shootings

During the confrontation, people grabbed rocks from a construction site at Santa Ana Street and Anaheim Boulevard and hurled them at officers. Others ignited a fire in the weeds and trash bins in the area as they were chased by police.

At the northeast corner of Water Street and Anaheim Boulevard, the lights of Don Leonardo's Taqueria were on. The owners, Francisco Hernandez and his wife, Alma, were returning from church when they discovered a mob of people had damaged their building. Expletives about the police were written on the side of their business, much like in other parts of the nearby neighborhood.

"We're very upset about this," Hernandez said. "We had nothing to do with what has happened in the city."

Hernandez also discovered that trash cans from their corner house had been moved to the intersection and had been set on fire. At least one of them had been melted down to its wheels.

After a few minutes of sweeping glass, a friend of the couple discovered that a second window had been broken.

"Oh, my God," Alma Hernandez said as she discovered the damage.

Francisco Hernandez said replacing the windows would cost about $700. 

"At least they weren't throwing rocks at some of the windows of the nearby homes," he said.

Across the street on the intersection's southwest corner, Simon Faddoul, 43, and Jerry Butterworth, 49, stood on the lot of their auto dealership, Ace Motors. The duo said they were fortunate nothing happened to the 75 cars that were parked on the front lot.

"We were just here keeping an eye on our business; we have all these big windows and all these cars," Butterworth said.

At one point, the pair had to call police when they discovered their garbage bin was missing. It turned out a group was trying to set fire to it but were foiled when police arrived. 

Faddoul said a young boy who appeared to be in his teens was arrested after he attempted to run from officers. The boy had climbed over a chain-link fence of an auto shop adjacent to the dealership but became trapped and was handcuffed.

"I feel bad for his parents, who are going to have to bail him out of jail," Faddoul said.

As police moved in later in the night to clear the streets, helicopters hovered above and the air smelled of melted plastic. Faddoul and Butterworth stood outside and watched as a line of patrol cars with flashing lights and sirens drove up and down Anaheim Boulevard.

The men were unsure how long they would stay at the dealership, but were concerned that the mob was moving around and would return.

"We'll leave when the helicopter goes away," Faddoul said.


Anaheim police and protesters continue to clash as fires burn

Scattered crowds roam Anaheim streets to protest officer shootings

Anaheim protesters throw rocks, bottles, set fires in clashes with police

— Ruben Vives in Anaheim and Melissa Leu in Los Angeles