Photographs of rioters breaking high street windows, looting and attempting to topple a rubbish truck in the seaside community of nearly 200,000, have been shared online in the hope of identifying culprits.
One photo in particular has been shared nearly 7,000 times on Facebook, depicting a man appearing to celebrate after breaking a bicycle shop window with a road sign.
“He will pay”, wrote one Facebook user in the photo’s comment section. Other users claim to have identified the man and to have notified the authorities. The Huntington Beach Police Department have stated that it is in the process of reviewing all social media leads in an attempt to make further arrests.
More than 100 police officers responded to calls from high street residents at seven pm on Sunday night, following a series of attempted lootings and attacks on shopfronts.
Many residents attempted to fend off the rioters themselves. Employees of the same bicycle shop which features in the now-viral photograph had closed the shop early, turned out the lights and “hid inside with wrenches and bike seat posts to defend our property”, as the store’s manager Ryan Hartzog told AP.
The police department has already made seven arrests in connection with the outbreak, the most serious of which has charged 18-year-old Kyle Roger Clott with assault with a deadly weapon: a skateboard which he allegedly used to hit a police officer who had attempted to detain him.
The US Open of Surfing is a week-long event which came to an end on Sunday, and attracts surf culture enthusiasts from all over the United States. The organisers have yet to comment officially, but a recent statement on their Facebook page reads, “we are extremely disappointed and saddened by the disturbance. We work tirelessly with the police to ensure a safe environment for all.”