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Horse Punched During County Fair Brawl That Left Four Deputies Injured: Sheriff

By Zachary Stieber

A brawl broke out at a county fair in California and left four deputies injured in addition to a horse that was punched, authorities said.

The fight started near a beer booth at the Stanislaus County Fair late July 21, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department said.

“The incident started when deputies contacted a group of male adults who were wearing gang attire and appeared to be drunk,” the department said in a statement. “The Stanislaus County Fair has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Upon advising the subjects they would have to leave, an adult male assaulted one of our deputies. An altercation ensued with a large crowd watching the incident.”

Several deputies on horseback approached and helped with crowd control.

“One fair goer who appeared to be supporting the subject who had started the altercation with deputies got knocked over by one of the horses. This subject got back up and was upset his beer had spilled. He proceeded to punch Maximus, the horse, in the rear end. He was subsequently arrested,” the department said.

“Maximus is recovering today by running around his pasture and eating alfalfa. Maximus is still committed to serving justice and will not be dissuaded in his efforts.”

The four deputies who were injured are recovering, authorities said, and five arrests were made.

“It should be noted that this was by far the busiest night of the fair. Overall, the fair has been a safe and family-friendly event with only minor incidents,” the department stated.

The fair said in a statement that it was grateful for the sheriff department’s help.

“We are extremely grateful to Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department for always putting safety first for our guests. 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,” the fair said in a statement.

“Thank goodness Maximus is safe with only a scratch on him,” they added.

NTD Photo
Armando Nunez (L) was accused of punching a horse that a sheriff’s deputy was riding on. Ismael Flores (R) was accused of punching a deputy in the face. (Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department)

One suspect was identified as 25-year-old Ismael Flores. He was accused of punching a deputy in the face. Another was named as 24-year-old Armando Nunez, who allegedly punched the horse, according to the Modesto Bee.

The injuries the deputies suffered ranged from a dislocated shoulder to abrasions.

Fair spokeswoman Adrenna Alkhas told CBS 13 that there were lots of families present, with thousands gathering to see Roberto Tapia, a popular singer-songwriter.

One beer stand closed before the brawl, leading to more lines at other stands, according to the broadcaster.

“It was a busy night so they may have run out so they were letting people know there are other beer booths open,” said Alkhas.

Stanislaus County Sheriff spokesperson Josh Clayton said that some people in the crowd appeared to be potential gang members who were drunk.

“They appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and they were being asked to leave,” Clayton told CBS.

“The fair has zero-tolerance for gang attire and indicia.”

Clayton said horses are used to help deputies control crowds.

“Those horses are very effective for creating a barrier that insulates the crowd from the deputies who have to deal with whatever situation is going on. They basically form a circle around whatever is going on and the horse provides protection,” he said.

“The fight lasted about 30 seconds to a minute, but the crowd control took a long amount of time, about 15-20 minutes to actually get the crowd under control so those involved could be moved to the command post for processing and transport to jail and medical treatment.”