Crime & Justice

Venice Pier lifeguard attack caught on video

Witnesses captured a video of the attack.
Witnesses captured a video of the attack.
NBC Los Angeles

Three people were arrested after a lifeguard was assaulted on the Venice Pier Thursday in an attack captured on cell phone camera by bystanders.

The fight reportedly started after someone threw a lit cigarette into the lifeguard tower, Officer Matthew Ludwig of the Los Angeles Police Department told KPCC.

“Once the lifeguard was walking down from the tower, he was assaulted,” Ludwig said.

The clip shows the lifeguard being repeatedly hit. A person Ludwig described as a good Samaritan stepped in to help the lifeguard. That person was also battered, Ludwig said.

LAPD officers were flagged down by a Los Angeles County lifeguard employee. Officers reviewed video of the fight and arrested three people for “resisting an executive officer,” Ludwig said.

The incident started at about 6:35 p.m., according to lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett with the L.A. County Fire Department.

Two of those arrested were male and one was female, according to Haskett.

One of the suspects was found unconscious at the scene and was transported to a local hospital in an unknown condition, according to LAPD Officer Drake Madison.

The lifeguard, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. He was released later that night with a hand injury, scratches and abrasions, Haskett said.

The other person who stepped in was seen and released.

While lifeguards are not cops and can’t issue citations, they are tasked with helping to enforce city and county municipal codes and ordinances, Haskett said. Lifeguards will advise people that smoking or taking a non-service dog onto the beach are prohibited. A captain can call for police assistance if it’s deemed necessary.

“This is very unusual. I mean this has not happened that I’m aware of in the last 20 years,” Haskett said, though he did mention an assault a few years ago at Dockweiler in which lifeguards tried to detain someone until police arrived.

Detectives from Pacific Division are handling the investigation, Madison said.

This story has been updated.