2 Off-Duty Firefighters Charged in Hollywood Beating
Two off-duty city firefighters were charged today in the beating of a 22-year-old man on Halloween night in Hollywood.
Firefighters Eric Carpenter, 38, and Michael Anthony Vitar, 37, were charged alongside Thomas Molnar, 45. Vitar was a child actor who appeared in The Sandlot and two of the Mighty Ducks franchise movies.
All three faced one count each of suspicion of assault by means likely to produce great bodily harm, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Carpenter was hit with an additional count — "personally inflicting great bodily injury on the victim," prosecutors stated.
According to the D.A.'s statement, this is what allegedly happened:
Carpenter, an L.A. city firefighter, was hosting a Halloween party on Oct. 31 attended by Vitar, another off-duty firefighter, and Molnar, a neighbor. The three allegedly became upset when a 22-year-old man visiting his grandmother in the area was handing out candy to kids as he walked down the street, the prosecutor said.
After chasing the victim down the street, the three defendants reportedly jumped him. They then allegedly forced the victim to the ground before Carpenter choked him, according to the prosecutor.
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Carpenter could face seven years if he's successfully prosecuted. Vitar and Molnar could see four years.
"The Department has cooperated fully with law enforcement during the subsequent investigation," the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement. "Both members have been placed on administrative leave with pay as the the criminal case proceeds."
Arraignment was continued to Jan. 21.
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