Each year we wonder when things are going to go too far. This year they did. Two people were stabbed when fans on each side of the USC-UCLA rivalry brawled in the Rose Bowl parking lot ahead of Saturday night's football game between the crosstown schools.
Commander Darryl Qualls of the Pasadena Police Department said "there were about 50 to 75 people fighting" in Lot 1 at the venue about 4:30 p.m., three hours before kickoff.
The victims were stabilized at a hospital. Two suspects were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, he said.
"We do believe alcohol played a factor,'' Qualls said.
An officer trying to break the thing up sustained a sprained hand.
CBS2 reported that the melee was sparked by someone complaining about impromptu touch football players in the lot getting too close to a car.
It's not yet clear if the victims or perpetrators were students and, if so, which sides of the rivalry they claimed allegiance to.
Update: A stabbing suspect was named: 44-year-old Arturo Cisneros was booked on suspicion of attempted murder.
Two others, 27-year-old Steven Radu of Monrovia and 24
23-year-old Joshua Elder of Temple City, were booked on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, according to Lt. Diego Torres of Pasadena P.D.
Two officers were injured trying to break up the fight.
Authorities said 27-year-old Cal State Fullerton student was stabbed in the cheek, with the knife's tip buried in his cheek bone still. Twenty-four-year-old Vimal Patel was stabbed in the back and was in intensive care, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While the Times updated its reporting to reflect the possibility that the fight was not fueled by rivalry but rather by an errant ball that hit a parked Mercedes during a touch football game, Pasadena police maintain that the age-old animosity between the schools played a roll in the violence.
"Due to the high fan level because of the game tonight," Qualls of Pasadena police said, "we think it had to do with some little rivalry.''
Update #2: Elder and Radu pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to charges that included resisting an officer. Cisneros, the alleged stabber, had yet to see any charges as of late Monday.
A colleague of victim Patel told the Weekly he was expected to recover. He "is also a CSUF student and should be coming out of the hospital within a few days with a punctured lung," the friend said.
Update #3: CBS2 reported that, after police reviewed amateur video of the melee, four more arrests were made. The suspects were not identified.
Qualls said the video is "very incriminating."
However, a man on tape who was apparently stabbing another was still wanted, according to the station.
Meanwhile, CBS2 stated, the Rose Bowl was likely looking at revised hours and extra policing for next year's match-up. The gates opened at 6 a.m. this year. The brawl broke out about 4:30 p.m. The game started at 7:30 p.m.
Update #4: Pasadena PD Lt. Tracey, Ibarra tells the Weekly there were three additional arrests, not four, after four people were detained for investigation following the department's review of video from Saturday's melee.
All three -- Arthur, 25, Anthony, 22, Akira, 24 -- are the children of stabbing suspect Cisneros, who was released "pending further investigation," she said.
In fact police believe the trio "played a greater role" in the violence, Ibarra said.
But cops won't say who they believe "is the actual stabber" -- at least not yet.
The three were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.