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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 1:20 pm | Fair 67º


Authorities Looking for Group of Juveniles Who Attacked 2 Men in Isla Vista

Deputies are investigating an assault and possible hate crime over the weekend against two men at Estero Park in Isla Vista, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

A group of six to 10 male juveniles allegedly attacked the two men at about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The victims — ages a 21 and 22 — told authorities that they were assaulted in the park by the juveniles, and that at least one of the youths used a dark-colored baton to hit them. 

The 21-year-old, a UCSB student, suffered a broken jaw and a large cut on his scalp. The other victim received a cut lip, welts across his back and an injured shoulder. 

During the assault, the attackers allegedly yelled "sexually derogatory" insults directed at one of he victim's "sexual orientation," said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

"At this time, there is no evidence to confirm the suspects had knowledge of their sexual orientation, or that it is what motivated the attack," Hoover added.

After the attack, the suspects fled the scene when a bicyclist drove into the park, saw what was happening, and began yelling. Once the suspects were gone, the victims flagged down a passing vehicle and got a ride to Cottage Hospital. 

The victims were unable to provide a description of the attackers, other than they were "Hispanic," and one of them was wearing a white T-shirt," Hoover said. 

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the possibility that the crime is gang-related, as well as a hate crime, she said.

The Sheriff’s Department is requesting the public’s assistance to find the suspects.

Anyone with information that would assist investigators is asked to call the sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division at 805.681.4150. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805-681-4171 or go to the department's website at www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip/.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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