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2 killed and 3 injured in July Fourth attack in California beach city

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Two people were killed and three others injured in an attack during a neighborhood Fourth of July gathering in a Southern California beach city, police said Friday.

The county coroner removed two bodies Friday morning from the crime scene, which encompassed a grassy median in a residential neighborhood lined with palm trees. The violence was just a few blocks from the beach in a community known as “Surf City USA.”

A 26-year-old Huntington Beach resident was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Carey. Officials released no further details on the attack Thursday night other than to say it was an “assault with a deadly weapon.” It began less than two hours after the city’s fireworks display ended roughly a mile (1.6 kilometers) away.

Violence was reported across the country on Thursday. The Fourth of July historically is one of the nation’s deadliest days of the year.

In the Huntington Beach neighborhood, people on bicycles rode up to crime scene tape blocking off the street Friday morning to ask police and bystanders what happened. Evidence of a gathering remained, including chairs, a cooler and drink cans on a grassy median near the homes. Remnants of fireworks also littered the street.

Resident Al Pacella said he knows one of the victims of the attack, which began during a casual neighborhood gathering for the holiday.

“Just a get-together with the neighbors and some local friends,” Pacella said. “Everybody there is really nice and easygoing, they’re all neighborly and help each other out.”

Pacella was walking back from a bar and stopped by the party for a few minutes before he headed home. Less than an hour later, he saw police lights outside his window.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “It’s just tragic.”

The district attorney’s office said they had not yet received the case from police by Friday morning but charges could be filed as early as Monday. A spokesperson for the Orange County coroner did not have details about the victims’ fatal wounds. And the mayor did not respond to a request for comment.

Shootings and other violence during the extended Fourth of July weekend have left at least 18 other people dead, including 11 in Chicago, and injured dozens more nationwide.

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Dazio and Ding reported from Los Angeles.

By EUGENE GARCIA, STEFANIE DAZIO and JAIMIE DING
Associated Press

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