Thornton Bullfight Melee Ends in Arrests

2:17 PM, May 31, 2009   |    comments
  • Darren Nunes
  • Cesar Rocha
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THORNTON, CA - Two men were arrested and deputies were forced to calm an angry crowd after an animal cruelty investigator was harrassed while looking into alleged abuses at a bullfighting event in Thornton Friday night, according to a San Joaquin Sheriff's spokesman.

The confrontation happened around 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lady of Fatima Society Hall on North Sacramento Boulevard as part of a series of touring events billed as bloodless bullfights, San Joaquin County Sheriff's spokesman Les Garcia said.

Garcia said a man who identified himself as an animal cruelty investigator with the Los-Angeles based Animal Cruelty Investigations approached sheriff's deputies at the bullfight and told them

he was following two groups who provide bulls for the shows.

The investigator said he was looking into illegal bandoleras that are used to jab the bull on the back as part of the bullfight. While bandoleras are supposed to attach to the animal through Velcro during bloodless fights, the man said that these bandoleras used a large nail that actually penetrates through the Velcro and into the bull's skin, Garcia said.

When the first bull was jabbed with an illegal bandolera, Garcia said the investigator moved to seize the instrument and was physically attacked and put in a chokehold by 23-year-old Darren Ponceano Nunes.

A large crowd of spectators also approached the investigator as deputies attempted to step in, Garcia said. As deputies tried to restore order, Garcia said 38-year-old Cesar Simoes Rocha became combative and assaulted a deputy.

Officers were able to gain control of the situation and disperse the crowd.

Nunes faces battery and assault with a deadly weapon charges while Rocha was booked on counts of resisting arrest, assault on an officer and incitement to riot.



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