Teens Head Stomp, Swing Axe at Fullerton College Security Officers
Police said the teens “punched, kicked, head stomped, and eye gouged” an officer, and one of the suspects swung an axe at other officers.
FULLERTON, Calif. — Three teenagers were taken into custody Friday morning after they allegedly attacked a Fullerton College campus safety officer and swung an axe at additional responding officers.
The 53-year-old campus safety officer confronted three teens who were “trespassing on a bench” in a quad after he believed one was in medical distress, according to a memo from Fullerton College President Dr. Cynthia Olivo. The officer was immediately attacked by the teens who reportedly “punched, kicked, head stomped, and eye gouged” him, says a Fullerton Police press release.
The officer was able to radio for help around 6:13 a.m. and two other campus officers responded. One of the suspects then pulled out “a tomahawk style axe from his backpack and swung it at the Safety Officers” but no one was struck. The 53-year-old, who has been employed as a Fullerton safety officer for 12 years, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries to his face.
One of the suspects, 18-year-old Elijah Balfe, was detained by campus police while the others fled. Another suspect, a 17-year-old boy, was taken into custody by Fullerton Police officers following a brief pursuit. Police said he was in possession of an axe. The third suspect, 18-year-old Austin Valdovinos, was found at a home in the 200 block of North Berkeley Avenue around 7:30 a.m. Police said he was taken into custody without incident following a brief standoff.
All three teens were booked on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Valdovinos and Balfe were booked into the Fullerton City Jail while the 17-year-old was taken to Orange County Juvenile Hall. Valdovinos is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail and Balfe’s bail was set at $50,000.
None are students at the school, which is a public community college and is part of the California Community Colleges System and the North Orange County Community College District.
School officials urged students to remain vigilant and utilize campus resources if they feel unsafe, KTLA reports.
“We want people to be aware of their surroundings and to be careful,” said North Orange County Community College District official Kai Stearns. “We do have campus safety to protect people…we have campus safety escorts in case people feel uncomfortable for any reason.”
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