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Fans describe the scene in the middle of a fight at a Fresno State football game

As multiple fights erupted in the middle of the Fresno state soccer game on Saturday, some fans who said they were trying to defuse the situation or just watch found themselves drawn into the fray.

Even a security guard who tried to break things up was repeatedly beaten.

Numerous physical altercations were filmed by fans at Bulldog Stadium for the game against Mountain West Conference rival Boise State. The Bulldogs lost 40-14.

In the end, five people were arrested, including a man who pushed past a Fresno city police officer.

And a fan said he broke his wrist.

It is not clear whether additional arrests will be made or other action taken as more footage of the incident surfaces.

“It was chaos,” said Armando Gonzalez, who was nearby as he recorded video of the melee as he stood in the lobby near the north end area. “I was really worried about the safety of the children, the people who came to the game with children and the elderly. They were trying to avoid the fighting.

“You also had innocent people who just watched as they were drawn into the fight. It was ugly.

Drunken fans

Fresno State Police Sgt. Carlos Frausto, who is the officer in charge during football matches, said all of Saturday’s incidents were alcohol-related and occurred at the northeast end of the stadium.

Fresno State was playing in front of its first full house in seven years, the Bulldogs, ranked No.25 by the Associated Press, facing the rival Broncos in front of an announced crowd of 41,043.

The big brawl in the stands, which was the last of three incidents on Saturday, occurred just after halftime and involved at least 10 people, campus police said.

Several videos show at least three young men in black shirts throwing punches and a few shirtless guys fighting as well.

An older fan with a beard and a blue shirt appears to watch the men in black fight, then gets kicked and tumbles down a few rows.

When event security tries to confront the person who kicked the older man, two other men in black shirts start hitting the guard.

A spectator wearing a No.99 soccer jersey appears to be trying to help the security guard by removing one of the young men in the black shirt.

However, the man in the jersey and one of the young men in the black shirts ended up tripping over several steps before falling about five feet from the stands onto the concrete lobby.

The entanglement is even spreading to the field, a few feet behind the northern end area, where a group of city police have arrested at least one fan.

“It was a crazy and sad thing to see,” said a man passing by a Barca fan (@SergioRamosMota) on Twitter.

Broken wrist and safety issues

Campus police initially said no serious injuries were sustained during the fighting.

But a man, Richard Corey Huizar de Madera, said on Sunday that he broke his wrist in two places.

In the videos, Huizar is the man wearing the red No.99 jersey and dives from the stands on the concrete below with one of the guys in the black shirt.

Huizar said his wrist was in a cast and would undergo surgery on Monday.

He was not arrested, but his father, Richard Huizar Sr., was.

“There was just a very big misunderstanding,” said young Huizar. “I wasn’t part of the fight, I was trying to help.”

He said he stayed on the sidelines at first, but the confrontation shifted towards him.

“The security guard was getting blown up by three guys,… and I stepped in to help the security guard,” he said.

fresno state fight

After falling to the ground and walking towards the field, he said his father tried to tell the police that his son was not the abuser.

“My father came to tell them that I was not the one who started the fight,” Huizar said. “He was a little pissed off because (he thought) they were stopping me.”

Elder Huizar can be seen pushing an officer in the video before being pinned to the ground by three officers.

“Maybe more officers or security should have been there to resolve the issue faster so it didn’t escalate where it went,” he said.

The Fresno Police Department refused on Sunday to answer questions about its role in handling the incidents, referring The Bee to the public information office on Monday.

Additional security measures will be added for future games, according to an emailed statement by Fresno State athletic director Terrance Tumey.

“It was a very unfortunate incident that led to these arrests,” he said. “We regret that this has happened as it is impacting the playing experience of our loyal Red Wave fans who have come to support our talented student-athletes.”

He noted that this was an isolated incident and said no further such arrests have been made this season. Fresno state police responded immediately and were supported by other local law enforcement agencies, he said.

“This type of behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said.

Liquor sales at Fresno State games

It was not immediately clear whether the state of Fresno would make any changes regarding alcohol sales inside Bulldog Stadium and other sports facilities.

Nevertheless, some fans are already asking the school to once again ban the sale of alcohol at sporting events.

For about 10 years (from December 2005 for some facilities and until September 2008 for others), the university had banned the sale of alcohol at sporting events held in facilities owned or operated by the university.

But at the start of the 2017-18 football season, Fresno state was given the green light to re-sell beer at football, baseball and softball games following an executive order from the office of the chancellor of California State University who repealed the previous system-wide policy.

Beer sales from six home football games that season generated $ 90,000.

Of course, banning beer sales inside the stadium doesn’t stop fans from drinking excessively at home, in bars, or on tailgating even before stepping through the gates.

Gonzalez, a longtime Fresno State fan who regularly attends Bulldogs sporting events for the past eight years, said he had noticed more rowdy behavior in recent years, but was not sure if the state of Fresno should ban the sale of alcohol.

He expressed relief that Saturday’s fighting did not result in more injuries.

“It was actually a little scary,” Gonzalez said. “There was so much fighting at the same time.

“Everyone’s judgment was not fair because everyone was extremely intoxicated. This is what it looked like to me. But what do these guys ruin everything for anyone who wants to enjoy a beer responsibly during the game? It’s not cool if the innocent are punished.

Fresno State Fight in the stands

This story was originally published November 8, 2021 5:00 a.m.

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Bryant-Jon Anteola is a multimedia reporter for The Fresno Bee, writing stories and producing videos on sports, news and random topics related to those in the Fresno area. He won a McClatchy President’s Award and received an honorable mention from the Associated Press Sports Editors. He enjoys sports because of the competition, camaraderie and energy, and sees sports as a microcosm of society.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A journalist for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She graduated in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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