When I wrote this week of the ugliness between USC and UCLA fans whenever the two teams tee it up each year in Los Angeles, I never fathomed what happened tonight before the game at the Rose Bowl.
More details continue to bleed out following a massive melee reportedly involving up to 75 people outside the Rose Bowl before the USC-UCLA game.
An unnamed Pasadena Police Officer reported to CBS 2 in Los Angeles Sunday evening that the dispute, which left one officer with a broken hand, included a man who was stabbed in the face while another man was stabbed “multiple times in the back.”
CBS 2’s Suzanne Marques (video report link) reported an eyewitness claiming that the dispute started after participants in a pickup football game outside the Rose Bowl apparently got too close to a parked vehicle.
That led to a heated verbal exchange which escalated into several fights.
Three men allegedly involved in the conflict are being held on charges of attempted murder, with accompanying $1 million bail.
Meanwhile, LOS ANGELES TIMES has more details on the cause of the melee and the identity and condition of the victims:
Friends said a man identified as Vimal Patel, 24, was in the intensive-care unit at Huntington Memorial Hospital. Joshua Dirling, 27, was stabbed in the cheek and a knife tip was embedded in his cheekbone, but he is expected to recover, relatives said.
The two were part of a group of about 15 or 20 people who had been drinking and cooking-out since 6:30 in the morning. The group they ended up brawling with had also been there drinking since the morning, witnesses said.
Patel, a student at Cal State Fullerton, was tossing a football with a friend when the ball accidentally hit a black Mercedes-Benz belonging to someone in the other group, according to his friend Martin Keeley.
That’s what allegedly touched off the free for all, according to a friend of Patel.
Keeley said he jumped in to defend his friend.
“I grabbed the first guy I could and wrestled him to the ground,” he said, the shirt he was wearing still torn and stained with blood hours later as he waited for news of his friend at the hospital.
Matthew Dirling, 27, said his twin brother was stabbed in the cheek during the fray.
“We were in the middle of it and my brother got popped in the face,” said Matthew Dirling, 27. “We were having a good time and this broke out.”
There were fans from both schools in their group, they said, and the fight appeared to be sparked by an angry reaction to a misthrown football, not college rivalry.
So one man was stabbed in the face and another was stabbed to the extent that he’s in intensive care because a football hit a car?
Somehow I’m thinking there could be more to this story.
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