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Commerce City Council Members Brawl at Hotel, Reports Say; Mayor Promises to Press Charges

12:01 PM PDT on May 20, 2019

    Credit: Los Cerritos News

    [dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]everal elected officials on the Commerce City Council were allegedly involved in a Saturday night brawl at a desert resort, and now the mayor of Commerce says he will press charges in the incident.

    Commerce City Councilman Leonard Mendoza was hospitalized after he was attacked by Commerce council colleague Ivan Altamirano during a fight involving at least seven people, including the mayor, according to reports.

    The melee broke out at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells on Saturday, during a convention of local government leaders from across the state. Witnesses told Los Cerritos News that the fight started in the smoking patio when “Altamirano ran through a door and sucker-punched Mendoza.”

    In a statement, Commerce Mayor John Soria said he and Altamirano were attacked during the ensuing melee and that he would be pressing charges, though he did not reveal the identity of the assailants.

    “I know who the attacker are but I will refrain from naming them at this time so that the Riverside County Sheriff's Department can conduct a thorough investigation,” Soria said.

    No arrests have been made.

    Soria said he was made aware of a tense argument between the two councilmembers and went to defuse it. “Upon arriving, I witnessed Mr. Mendoza on the floor, apparently unconscious, and Mr. Altamirano standing nearby with a facial injury.”

    He then attempted to remove Altamirano from the situation but “within seconds, Mr. Altamirano and I were attacked from behind by two individuals.”

    A photo sent to Los Cerritos News, via text message by a witness at the scene, shows Mendoza apparently unconscious with what looks like specks of blood splashed at his feet.

    Requests for comments from both conunclimembers’ offices were referred to a statement by the Commerce City Council. "The city has been made aware of reports of a confrontation between some city officials that took place outside of the city's jurisdiction,” the statement said. “Given that, and the fact that the city is unclear on the specifics, the city has no further comment at this time."

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