[UPDATED with Not Guilty Plea:] Mark Allen Vasquez Held in Violent Attack on U.S. Marine and Friend Outside Sutra Lounge
24-year-oldMark Allen Vasquez
of Pico Rivera pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Tuesday to various charges related to an incident outside Sutra Lounge in Costa Mesa that left a U.S. Marine hospitalized in critical condition.
Vasquez faces felony charges of battery with serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon other than a gun, as well as sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm and bodily injury resulting in a coma or paralysis.
The Marine, Alex Martinez, 21, of Long Beach, remains in critical condition at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.
According to some of those leaving comments below to the original version of this post, it was Martinez who initiated the conflict with Vasquez. Police counter that Martinez tried to avoid a confrontation and was blindsided by Vasquez.ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 4, 2:08 P.M.:
Walking to the Triangle Square parking structure in Costa Mesa after leaving Sutra Lounge early Friday, a U.S. Marine on leave from Hawaii and a friend were confronted by a group of men who hurled insults at them.
The Marine, Alex Martinez, and Victor Zavala, both 21 and from Long Beach, decided to avoid a confrontation by continuing to the parking structure's fourth level, where they awaited their ride home. But they were jumped, their heads striking the lot's concrete floor, rendering both unconscious.
"He tried to leave and take the high road," Costa Mesa Police Sergeant Jerry Souza later told The Orange County Register. "Basically, the guy blindsided him."
Martinez was listed this morning in critical condition at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. Zavala came to for paramedics who responded to the 2 a.m. call, but he refused a ride to the hospital, deciding to treat his injuries on his own.
However, Zavala stuck around long enough to help Costa Mesa police. A description of the car used by the attackers had been provided by one of those who called the cops about men being down in the parking structure. A car fitting that description was pulled over by officers responding to that call at Triangle Square, 1870 Harbor Blvd.
Inside was 24-year-old Mark Allen Vasquez, whom Zavala would go on to identify as the man who had allegedly hit Martinez and participated in the assault on both of them. Vasquez was arrested on suspicion of felony assault with serious injury, held at Costa Mesa Jail and later booked into Orange County Jail. The Pico Rivera resident's bail was set at $25,000.
John Anthony Vela, 25, the Whittier driver of the car carrying Vasquez, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, booked into Costa Mesa Jail and released on a written promise to appear in court.
Police are still trying to nail down everything that happened in those early-morning hours. If you saw or know anything, contact Costa Mesa Police Detective Scott Stafford at (714) 754-5363 or Sergeant Ed Everett at (714) 754-5395.
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