Two sent to hospital after beach melee near Santa Monica Pier

SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 11: Pedestrians Monday morning enjoy the beautiful weather as they walk on the Santa Monica Pier. But out of an abundance of caution and to contribute to regional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica Pier will be temporarily closed the remaining weekends in January. The Pier remains open to pedestrians Monday Through Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible and the closure is part of meeting this need. Santa Monica Pier on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 in Santa Monica, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Santa Monica Beach in 2021. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Two people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries Saturday afternoon after a melee that broke out on the beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier, officials said.

Santa Monica Police Watch Commander David Hodgson said five people were in custody — although none had yet been charged with any crimes — after a “mutual combat situation” on the sand down by the waterline near Lifeguard Tower 14.

“Two groups started getting into it with each other,” he said. ”They get into this big altercation.”

Police responded and found one person with a non-life-threatening injury consistent with a stab wound. Another person had what appeared to be a broken ankle. Both were taken to hospitals.

Five males were arrested, three in connection with charges of assault with a deadly weapon, one for battery, and one for sexual battery, according to a police department social media post. The incident is still under investigation. Police, Hodgson said, are “still trying to sort through what happened.”

He stressed that there is no threat to the public.

The incident comes about a month after two German tourists were stabbed and a third person injured in apparently unprovoked attacks near the Santa Monica Pier in late May. In that case, a suspect was apprehended.

And on June 26, a Santa Monica man allegedly attacked three women at the beach north of the pier, attempting to strangle a 17-year-old, then assaulting and biting a woman who tried to come to her aid, and allegedly dragging a 72-year-old woman into the ocean and pushing her underwater. That man, Jawann Dwayne Garnett, 32, is being held without bail, charged with two counts of attempted murder.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.