HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) – No charges will be filed against the three men who were engaged in a fight in downtown Huntington Beach last month that left one of them seriously hurt.
The decision by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office came after investigators examined evidence that contradicted witness statements regarding who initiated the altercation and how it played out, Huntington Beach police announced Friday.
“The video evidence and the delayed witness interviews contradicted the initial statements of others and resulted in no charges being filed on those arrested,” police said.
The fight took place just before 1 a.m. on March 11, near the Thunder Burgrz Pizza restaurant at 126 Main St. It involved a restaurant employee, 33-year-old Garret Peterson, and two men, 21-year-old Bryce Anthony Mezich and 22-year-old Austin Wright Callan.
Some witnesses initially told detectives that Peterson was attacked outside the restaurant after refusing to give the two men free pizza. Peterson was found unconscious and rushed to Hoag Hospital Newport Beach with serious head injuries. He survived.
Based on witness statements, Callan and Mezich were arrested on charges of fighting in public. Mezich was also charged with felony assault.
However, according to police, as investigators reviewed surveillance video and spoke to more witnesses, they determined that Peterson started the altercation by “committing a battery” on one of the other men and inviting him to fight him in the alley.
“A third subject told detectives he became involved in the confrontation to defend his family member and prevent further assault by the restaurant employee,” Huntington police wrote in a news release.
As a result of the new evidence, the charges against Callan and Mezich were dropped. After reviewing the case, the district attorney’s office chose not to prosecute any of the men.