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Weekend stadium brawls raise calls for increased safety

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Brawls at the San Francisco 49ers' and Los Angeles Angels' stadiums over the weekend have left a football fan and a baseball fan hospitalized in serious condition, raising calls for increased safety at major sports venues.

"A small percentage of the fans cause the biggest issues. These are the ones who have lost perspective that this is a sport, a team," said Kathy Samoun, who founded the nonprofit Fans Against Violence in 2011 after two violent stadium attacks: a shooting at Candlestick Park and a brutal beating outside the Los Angeles Dodgers' stadium that left San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stowe permanently disabled.

On Sunday, a 49ers fan was hospitalized in serious condition after a bathroom brawl at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Police said Monday they were reviewing video of the fight, in which everyone involved appears to be wearing 49ers gear.

Alex Cartagena, who posted the video online after his brother-in-law Justin Sweeney recorded it, said the situation in the men's restroom was intense.

"One guy was impatient about another guy not taking the stall quickly enough," he said. "It happened really quickly. Next thing you know, the guy's lying on the floor."

Two men, Dario Rebollero, 34, and Amador Rebollero, 27, ran out of the bathroom but were soon arrested on suspicion of felony assault, Santa Clara police spokesman Lt. Kurt Clarke said Monday. Clarke said he did not know whether the suspects have attorneys who could be reached for comment.

49ers spokesman Bob Lange said the team is deeply concerned.

"We were appalled to see the video of the attack on the victims," he said. "Maintaining the safety of all stadium guests is our highest priority."

In Southern California, police Monday were looking for three men suspected of brutally beating a man in the parking lot of Angel Stadium of Anaheim after the Angels' playoff game Friday night. Anaheim police said a 43-year-old former Los Angeles police officer was walking to his car with a relative when they were attacked, apparently for no reason.

There was no argument before the attack and nobody has been arrested, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

In September, two men were arrested on assault charges after fighting in the stands when the 49ers visited the Arizona Cardinals.

Glendale, Arizona, police Sgt. Jay O'Neill said officers helped stadium security personnel who responded to two separate brawls in adjoining upper deck sections of University of Phoenix Stadium.

Video posted on social media showed several 49ers and Cardinals fans exchanging shoves and then punches. A pile of people then tumbled a few feet down concrete stairs, leaving one man with a cut to his head.

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, spearheaded a 2012 law that requires major sports venues to post written notices displaying a number to contact security to report a violent act. Colleges are exempt. Gatto said Monday he's considering bringing back his original proposal that would also have required stadiums to have a "ban list" to keep people convicted of violent crimes out.

"These incidents have risen in recent years," he said. "There are a lot of things worth fighting for. Your family and your country come to mind. But the color of a jersey or a comment at a game, that is not something to get violent over."

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