An 18-year-old who allegedly attacked two KESQ journalists reporting on a marijuana dispensary was arrested Thursday on suspicion of grand theft, battery, vandalism and preventing wireless communication.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Palm Desert Station responded to a report of battery at the 31600 block of Calle Jessica just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the unincorporated area of Riverside County known as Thousand Palms, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
At the scene, deputies found a reporter and cameraman from KESQ’s I-Team, who were conducting a report on a dispensary in the area.
The reporters said that while interviewing a local resident about the dispensary, two individuals — Julian Navarro and a woman who has not been publicly identified — approached them and an argument regarding them filming at the location ensued, deputies said. Navarro then allegedly grabbed the reporter’s cellphone out of her hand and pushed the cameraman twice, KESQ reported.
The dispensary was one of the 10 suspected illegal marijuana shops that was shut down in a countywide raid last month, said KESQ reporter Brooke Beare, who said she was assaulted.
KESQ was reporting on the reopening of the dispensary following the shutdown.
Both individuals then fled in a vehicle before law enforcement was able to arrive. They were later identified using evidence collected at the scene, deputies said.
KESQ confirmed that much of the incident was caught on their cameras.
“We are physically OK. Definitely shaken,” Beare said. “We try to keep ourselves out of stories like this, but today, unfortunately, we became part of it.”
Navarro was arrested Thursday and is being held at the Indio Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to jail records. He is expected to be arraigned on Monday.
It is unclear if the woman will face charges.
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