Three teens were taken into custody after they allegedly beat up a campus safety officer at Fullerton College Friday morning, then swung an ax at responding officers as they attempted to escape.
Around 6:15 a.m., a Fullerton College officer found three teens “trespassing on a bench” on the campus quad next to the 200 Building, the Fullerton Police Department said in a news release.
The campus officer was immediately attacked when he went to make contact with the teens, believing one was in medical distress.
It was then that the teens “punched, kicked, head stomped, and eye gouged” him, police said.
That officer was able to radio for help, and when his colleagues arrived, one of the teens pulled out “a tomahawk style axe from his backpack and swung it at the Safety Officers,” though no one was struck, police said.
One of the teens, later identified as Fullerton resident Elijah Balfe, 18, was taken into custody at the scene, but the other two escaped.
FPD officers searched for the two teens who escaped, finding a 17-year-old boy at North Hornet Way and North Berkeley Avenue. After a brief pursuit, the Fullerton resident was taken into custody, and he was in possession of a “tomahawk axe,” police said.
The third alleged attacker, 18-year-old Austin Valdovinos of Fullerton, was found at a home in the 200 block of North Berkeley Avenue around 7:30 a.m.
“After a brief standoff, Valdovinos was taken into custody without incident,” the release said.
The attack, which police said was not motivated by any form of racial, political or ideological factors, left the 53-year-old security guard with injuries to his face.
The 12-year veteran of Fullerton College Campus Safety was taken to a local hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Students at the normally “quiet” campus of Fullerton College were shaken at the incident and are now on edge.
“In the end, if [campus safety officers] are the ones getting attacked, that makes you wonder for your own safety,” said student Karim Ellyahky.
School officials want students to remain extra vigilant and be aware that there are resources if they feel unsafe.
“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.”
The three teens involved in the attack 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, while Balfe’s bail was set at $50,000, jail officials told KTLA.