July 26, 2014 -- A California teen is under arrest today, accused of using social media to threaten violence at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which opened today in Huntington Beach.
The 16 year-old male, of Huntington Beach, allegedly posted the threat Thursday night using social media.
The Huntington Beach Police Department has not disclosed the contents of the threat, the website on which the threat was made, or the identity of the male, who is being treated as a minor.
He was being held at the Orange County Juvenile Hall on the charge of making a terrorist threat, police said today.
On Friday night police searched the suspect's home, where they allegedly found a handgun and shotgun. Police said it is unclear to whom the weapons belong, but they believe the suspect had access to both guns.
Police were investigating the suspect's electronic devices, but they said today it appears that he made the threat alone and had not yet acted on it.
The arrest comes in the wake of last year's violence-marred surf competition, where a fight escalated into a riot that resulted in property damage and looting in the Huntington Beach area.
This year organizers and Huntington Beach police have heightened security measures at the nine-day surf competition.
The measures include police on horseback and 25 surveillance cameras monitoring an expected crowd of 500,000 people, police told ABC station KABC-TV" alt="" />.
"Horses can move right through a crowd very easily, a good tool for us to get into a crowd and stop a problem before it becomes a big problem," Huntington Police Chief Robert Handy said.
"If you're drinking on the beach, you might be on camera... an officer will eventually get down there and issue citations and confiscate the alcohol," he said.
Organizers have also decided to switch some of the non-athletic entertainment away from the waves, with a movie night replacing concerts, and to scale back the number of vendors to 12, compared to 100 vendors last year.
"We're bringing the attention back to surf, skate and BMX," James Leitz, executive producer of the U.S. Open of Surfing, told KABC-TV.