Hermosa Beach police are asking the public for their help in identifying a man who was caught on surveillance footage throwing a lit firework into a crowd at a silent disco event celebrating Pride Month, injuring multiple people.
Video of the incident, which happened around 9:45 p.m. on June 17, shows the man standing off to the side of the event, lighting up a firework and tossing it into the crowd of about 400 people. He is then seen making a quick getaway on a motorized beach cruiser. He appears to be accompanied by two additional people on their own bike.
“We are investigating this as a possible hate crime,” said Hermosa Beach PD Capt. Landon Phillips. “We cannot rule that out. This was advertised as a Pride event. It appears the subject stopped there specifically, waited for a few minutes and then threw the explosive into the crowd.”
The silent-disco festival was being held at Vista, at the Hermosa Beach pier in California.
Adam Molvani, whose company put on the event, said the firework landed two feet away from him and injured two of his employees.
“It was very scary,” Molvani said. “It was pretty traumatic for some of us, especially because it was a Pride event and you just never know what that might attract. There’s some crazy people out there.”
He said one of his workers suffered a minor wound on her leg and another suffered a few burns that blew holes through his shirt.
“It was a pretty powerful blast and everybody’s ears were ringing,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center’s Director of Emergency Services Dr. Ali Jamehdor said fireworks should be considered explosive devices and should only handled by professionals.
“They can cause severe injuries,” he said. “We’re talking amputations, we’re talking loss of vision, and there really is no limit to the extent of the injuries you can get from an explosive device going off in your hand or in your face. People sometimes will bend forward to look and see why it’s not going off and then it explodes.”
Hermosa Beach police told ABC7 Los Angelesthat fragments of the firework struck multiple people in the crowd but none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.
Police describe the suspect as a man believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, wearing a black sweatshirt with yellow lining, dark pants, and a red, white and blue helmet.
Anyone with information is asked to call Hermosa Beach police at (310)318-0360.