IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Firefighter accused of role in Calif. riot after surf contest

A firefighter was among those arrested on suspicion of participating in the Huntington Beach riot over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

Michael John Lytle, 30, of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest., Fullerton city officials said. He has been placed on administrative leave.

"With firefighters, it’s especially tough because we hold ourselves to such a high standard," Fullerton Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe told NBC4.


Also on Tuesday, Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley, pleaded not guilty to vandalism and other charges. A Superior Court judge ordered him not to return to Huntington Beach.

Authorities were focusing on a man who was photographed smashing a bike shop display window with a stop sign Sunday as a violent crowd stormed the community after a surfing contest.

Police asked for help identifying the man seen in the image (right) and another in which he appears to be celebrating with arms raised. The photo is one of several used by investigators as they attempt to identify individuals involved in Sunday's violence along Main Street.

Video of the vandalism at the Easyrider bike shop also was captured on video. The video shows a man smashing the display window before employees begin wrestling with member of the crowd for an expensive bicycle.

That video was taken by Margo Hamman, an 18-year-old photography student from Huntington Beach, who rushed to the scene to capture footage of the riot. She said her boyfriend, Ben, was trying to defend the store when a rioter sucker-punched him.

One bicycle was stolen, another was saved when Ben and other members of the crowd stepped in to help employees defend the store.

The shattered window was replaced Tuesday morning.

Social media, including the Huntington Beach police Facebook page, has played a prominent role in the investigation. After posting the image on its Facebook page, the department received several responses from people claiming to know the subject's identity.

The photo and call for help were issued as the Orange County District Attorney announced the arraignment of another person accused in the disturbance. Chase Scott Christman, 19, of Simi Valley is charged with one felony count of vandalism, one misdemeanor count of inciting a riot, and one misdemeanor count of refusal to disperse.

The violence began after the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which includes surfing, skateboarding and BMX biking events. Several witnesses told NBC4 the disturbance started with a fistfight in downtown Huntington Beach. City vehicles, newspaper racks, street signs, portable toilets and other items were damaged in the wave of violence on and near Main Street.