MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA) — A 35-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were arrested Tuesday in connection with a fight that was caught on video and circulated on social media.
Robert Lee Aaron III was arrested early Tuesday and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, willful child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of minors. Aaron’s 17-year-old son was also arrested and booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of felony assault and conspiracy.
Riverside County sheriff’s officials say they have also identified another 17-year-old suspect who remains at large in connection with the disturbing video of a fight that investigators determined happened Saturday night at the Moreno Valley Skate Park, 15415 6th St. The video showed three males punching and kicking two other young men, and attacking and spitting on a third, as half a dozen or more people watch and record video.
Authorities say a review of Moreno Valley’s city-wide camera system captured the attack in its entirety and led to the positive identification of the suspects and the victims, who were all 14- and 15-year-old residents of Moreno Valley.
But Aaron said Tuesday night that the video didn’t tell the whole story. Aaron’s 12-year-old son Devon said he and his friends were the victims of bullying.
“He chased my friend down and when he caught him, he socked him in his chest and my friend lost his breath and started crying,” Devon said. “He said he was gonna take my phone and beat me up, so I called my brother.”
The grandmother for one of the boys shown getting hit in the vehicle said he would not tell her exactly what happened leading up to the encounter, but said he was very sorry about it. She also said her grandson was fine.
Aaron said when he arrived at the park, Devon was sitting on the curb crying.
“I understand the situation was a bad situation,” Aaron said. “But at the same time, my son was in a tough situation.”
After identifying the suspects, investigators executed search warrants in the 23800 block of Elyce Court and 23000 block of Bay Avenue, both addresses in Moreno Valley. Aaron and the juvenile suspect were arrested at these locations, where evidence connected to the attack — which police called unprovoked and premeditated — were seized.
But Aaron’s family believe police should release video from the city cameras to show was happened before the violent encounter happened. They maintain the attack was not unprovoked.
“This is not a racial thing,” Bobby Thomas, an uncle, said. “It’s’ something that happened. It got pushed more out of proportion than it should have been, and we’re not proud of it.”
Aaron is out on $35,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday.