CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A savage beating of a 25-year-old man in the parking lot at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista has led to questions about security at the facility.
The beating occurred in the facility's parking lot on the same day as a Jason Aldean country music concert on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The victim was identified as Zac Zander of Escondido. His mother, Cheryl Zander, described his injuries.
"Both his cheekbones were crushed, his eye sockets, his nose… they stomped on his leg and broke his leg," she said.
His father, Keith Zander, told of a vicious assault.
"Somebody was around his head, taking their fingers and gouging… fingers inside the eye holes [and] choking and kicking him," he said.
He said the incident began early in the afternoon as people were tailgating.
Keith Zander told 10News that several Marines were making obnoxious and vile comments about several women in his son's group.
"He basically did what we teach kids to do… that's defend and stand up for people who can't defend themselves and in doing that, he got his face stomped by what we believe is seven or eight Marines," he said.
Zander remains in severe pain and will be lain up for six weeks. Cheryl Zander said they were cautiously optimistic.
"He is progressing well but we don't know what the future holds," she said.
Zander's parents questioned the level of security at the outdoor facility.
"I was told it was a very raucous night," Keith Zander said. "They did not expect the size or the intensity of the crowd."
The size was expected, though. The concert was a sellout. It was labeled by Chula Vista police as a busy night but not out-of-control, with one exception.
One Marine was arrested in connection with another fight but later released. Police and Naval Criminal Investigative Services have identified several suspects in the Zander assault and will soon turn over their findings to the District Attorney's Office to decide what charges should be filed.
The Zanders are upset on several levels.
"We love the military," said Cheryl Zander. "He [Keith] was an Army Ranger. We have respect for the military so that was very disheartening that these were Marines that attacked our son."
Activities at that concert have prompted a meeting scheduled next week between the facility's management and Chula Vista police to discuss security policies and procedures.