Several juveniles arrested in connection to vandalism at Ascarate Park are said to be the same kids in a viral video in which an El Paso police officer pulled his gun.
In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said that deputies investigating burglaries in the area recognized several of the kids in the video and compared them to suspects caught on video by security cameras at the county-run park.
To see photos of kids allegedly breaking into Ascarate Park toll booth, click here.
Wiles said of seven juveniles charged with burglary, six were seen in the viral video of the police confrontation taken by a cell phone on July 5. Five of the juveniles were boys and two were girls.
“By taking them into custody for this offense and getting them into the system, we can get them some help and put them on the right path,” said El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles.
People visiting the park tell KTSM they hope those kids change their ways after being taken into custody.
“Parents should be more aware of their children and discipline their children like they used to do to us in the old days,” said Anthony Lara, who lives in Central El Paso.
“The kids should be charged because people come out here to spend time with their family,” said Sergio Rivera, from Central El Paso.
“I think it’s a life lesson. They are going to think about it next time they want to go onto someone’s private party or to any location and do wrong,” said Alfonso Duarte, from San Elizario.
The video of the confrontation between the police officer and the kids showed the children cursing and belligerent with the officer, closing in on him as he attempted to restrain a teenager. The officer then drew his service weapon to keep the crowd at bay. The video created a national sensation and was viewed more than 4 million times within 48 hours of its posting.
Wiles said the juveniles were charged with burglary of a building for allegedly breaking into a park toll booth on July 2, just days before the confrontation with police.