The suspects’ identities have been withheld because they are minors, according to authorities.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan said deputies have apprehended the main suspects among a group of up to 40 others who ruthlessly attacked the three servicemen who were enjoying their Memorial Day weekend near the Pier Bowl.
“They think they have the people they are looking for,” Duncan said. “Not to say that there might not be a few others out there. They feel pretty confident that they have the main perpetrators.”
Investigators used video footage of the attack to track down the brutes, according to the mayor.
“In today’s age, you’re going to get caught — people are going to record it,” said Duncan. “I hope this serves as a learning lesson for young folks in the community not to let themselves get out of control when something like this happens.”
The teenagers set their sights on the Marines after the trio asked the group to stop lighting fireworks — since a piece of debris had hit one of them in the face, they claimed.
“We told them we were Marines so they would leave — but they didn’t. They just kept going at it,” said one of the servicemen, Hunter Antonino.
The youngsters then followed the men and verbally berated them before overpowering the trio, forcing them to retreat into the fetal position on the ground, with their hands and arms covering their heads as the mob continued to kick, punch and stomp them.
The nearly minute-long clip shows the attack only ending when a man and woman rush in and scream at them to stop.
The sheriff’s department promised to “investigate this to the fullest” even if the servicemen opted not to press charges.