Rose Bowl Brawl: Two Stabbed, Two Officers Injured as Fans Fight Before Kickoff

(AP Graphic)
Rose Bowl Brawl: Two Stabbed, Two Officers Injured as Fans Fight Before Kickoff
(AP Graphic)

PASADENA, Calif. (CBS/AP) A fight broke out among dozens of vehement fans in a parking lot just hours before the USC-UCLA football game was set to start, leaving two men with stab wounds and two police officers with minor injuries, authorities said.

According to Pasadena police Cmdr. Darryl Qualls, 44-year-old Arturo Cisneros was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and both Steven Radu, 27, and Joshua Elder, 23, were arrested for investigation of assault on a police officer after about 40 fans from both schools fought in a grassy part of Brookside Golf Course that the stadium uses for parking.

One person was stabbed in the cheek and the other was stabbed in the back during the scuffle some three hours before Saturday's cross-town rivalry game between the Bruins and Trojans was set to kickoff, Qualls said. One officer was treated for a sprained hand, the other for a sprained ankle, according to Qualls.

Friends and family of the stabbing victims said the fight broke out when Vimal Patel, 24, and another man, who were part of a group of UCLA fans, were throwing a football around and it accidentally hit a black Mercedes-Benz belonging to members of a nearby group of USC fans.

Three men from that group confronted Patel and a fight broke out which ended with Patel being stabbed eight times in the back, his friend Martin Keeley told the Los Angeles Times.

Keeley said his wife called 911 while he tried to defend his friend along with many more people, including Joshua Dirling, 27, who was stabbed in the cheek, according to his brother.

"We were in the middle of it and my brother got popped in the face," Matthew Dirling told the Times. "We were having a good time and this broke out."

Both victims were taken by ambulance to Huntington Memorial Hospital. The commander described their condition as stable.

Qualls said that the last time the annual rivalry game was held at the Rose Bowl in 2008, there were about 50 arrests, but he didn't think any of them were for assault.

"It doesn't happen at normal college football games," Qualls said.

But the USC-UCLA rivalry is not your normal rivalry, it's among the most intense in college football, pitting two schools separated by just 13 miles against each other.

"The fans are pretty passionate about their football teams," Qualls said.

The Bruins fell to the Trojans for the 11th time in 12 games, losing 28-14.

USC's victory - the Trojans' fourth straight - in the 80th meeting between the teams was for nothing but bragging rights, with the Bruins failing to qualify for a bowl game and USC banned from the postseason by NCAA sanctions.

Cisneros, Radu and Elder were being held in Pasadena City Jail.