LAGUNA BEACH (CNS) - Laguna Beach officials shut down two hotels after several scuffles involving armed security guards over a civil dispute, officials said today.
City Manager Shohreh Dupuis ordered the closing of hotels 14 West and Hotel Laguna on Tuesday after police were called there three times throughout the day. Police responded to trespassing claims and a fight between armed security teams, officials said. When police responded to an incident Tuesday morning at 14 West, everyone involved in a conflict said they would ``remain civil,'' but hours later police responded to a fight involving 20 people in the lobby of Hotel Laguna, city officials said. One security guard hit another one and made an arrest, officials said.
``Although this is a civil matter, the presence of armed security and these types of altercations require city intervention for the protection of the public and all concerned,'' Dupuis said. ``We started working with the attorneys on both sides to come up with a resolution in the early afternoon and had urged the attorneys to have their clients voluntarily close the buildings while claims and lawsuits are resolved. Both parties had agreed by 6 p.m. to unarm their security guards at both locations but did not agree to close the buildings.''
Police were called again to 14 West after 6 p.m. Tuesday when another argument erupted in fights, and officers saw the guards were still armed at both hotels, officials said. That prompted the city manager to shut down the hotels.
``This is a civil issue that has resulted in both parties hiring armed security and attempting to force the other from the businesses,'' Laguna Beach Police Department Chief Jeff Calvert said.
``Both sides have been warned but, unfortunately, neither side will relent and take the appropriate actions through the civil judicial process. Immediate closure of the businesses will allow a cooling-off period for both parties and protect the public from inadvertently being caught up in the middle of a civil issue that has the potential to become more violent.''