[UPDATE]: Three more students have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s melee, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover. These arrests — Hoover said more are expected — came after the department viewed surveillance footage of the incident. Thursday’s arrests involved a female student charged with battery on a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer by means of force; a female student charged with battery on a peace officer; and a male student charged with assault on a peace officer.
[Original report]:The Sheriff’s Office arrested and booked six students into Juvenile Hall on Wednesday after fights and a riot broke out on the Righetti High School campus near Santa Maria. The events — which led to a brief lockdown of that campus and that of nearby St. Joseph’s High School — involved students fighting each other and proceeding to assault law enforcement personnel who intervened.
According to department spokesperson Kelly Hoover, during the lunch hour, two students started fighting in the school’s quad, where upward of 1,000 students were gathered. On-site security officers broke up that fight and notified the school’s resource deputy, who was in the process of talking to the victim when he and the security officers had to respond to a second fight close by. In trying to break that fight up, the deputy and one student fell down. A crowd of students quickly got riled up and began kicking the officer, as well as throwing food and bottles at him and screaming profanities. Sheriff’s deputies in the area drove to campus to assist. One deputy, while attempting to detain one of the female suspects, was pushed and hit and, Hoover said, while defending himself, he pushed the girls away, causing one of them to fall down.
Other agencies that helped diffuse the situation were the Santa Maria Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, County Fire, County Probation, the County Air Support Unit, the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team, and a K-9 unit. The six students face charges including resisting arrest resulting in injury to a deputy, battery on a peace officer, battery on another student on school grounds, assault on a school employee, posesssion of a knife on school grounds, possession of marijuana on school grounds, and resisting and obstructing officers.
Hoover said the Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident and expects to arrest additional people. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the department either at 805-934-6150 or via the anonymous tip line at 805-681-4171. “The Sheriff’s Office is grateful that, despite the disturbing behavior of those who participated in this chain of events, no one was seriously injured,” Hoover said in a prepared statement.