The final night of the Stanislaus County Fair was marred when a drunken brawl broke out near one of the beer stands that ultimately led to four sheriff’s deputies being injured, five people arrested and one horse punched in the rear.
The injuries sustained by the deputies ranged from scrapes and bruises to a dislocated shoulder, said Stanislaus County Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Josh Clayton.
The fight broke out on the highest attended night of the fair’s 10-day run, according to the sheriff’s department and fair officials.
The incident was set into motion around 9:45 p.m. Sunday when one of the beer booths closed early, forcing more people to gather at the remaining open stands. Sheriff’s deputies were attempting to corral the crowd into a line near the Cantina beer booth when they noticed an intoxicated man trying to start fights with people in the crowd.
The man was wearing gang attire, Clayton said. The sheriff’s department, which is responsible for the security at the fair, has a zero-tolerance policy for gang attire and symbols.
Deputies were speaking with the man, when another man, later identified as Ismael Flores, 25, of Ceres came up and began punching some of the deputies. It didn’t take long before more people had joined in the brawl, with deputies trying to regain some order. The melee lasted around five to 10 minutes.
During the fight Armando Nunez, 24, was bumped by one of the sheriff’s mounted patrol horses, Maximus. Nunez spilled some of his beer and in retaliation he punched Maximus in the hindquarters. Nunez was located and taken into custody.
“Maximus is recovering today by running around his pasture and eating alfalfa,” the sheriff’s department posted on their Facebook page. “Maximus is still committed to serving justice and will not be dissuaded in his efforts. The deputies are doing just fine also.”
Assisting the sheriff’s department during the incident were the Turlock Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the sheriff department’s air patrol unit.
Flores was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest with threats or violence. Nunez was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public, resisting arrest and malicious mischief. The names of the other three individuals arrested were not released by the sheriff’s department.
“We are extremely grateful to Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department for always putting safety first for our guests,” Stanislaus County Fair officials wrote on their Facebook page. “We have zero tolerance for any kind of gang related incidents and/or acting inappropriately at a family fair. We are happy the arrests were made and more importantly the deputies only had minor injuries. Thank goodness Maximus is safe with only a scratch on him.”