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2 dead and 3 injured in fourth attack in July in Californian beach town

By EUGENE GARCIA, STEFANIE DAZIO and JAIMIE DING – Associated Press

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Two people were killed and three others injured in an attack during an Independence Day neighborhood gathering in a Southern California beach town, police said Friday.

The county coroner removed two bodies from the crime scene Friday morning, which was located on a grassy median in a palm-tree-lined residential neighborhood. The violence occurred just blocks from the beach in a community known as “Surf City USA.”

A 26-year-old Huntington Beach resident was arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder, city spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said. Authorities did not release further details about the attack Thursday night, other than that it was an “assault with a deadly weapon.” It began less than two hours after the city’s fireworks display ended about a mile away.

Violence was reported across the country on Thursday. The Fourth of July is historically one of the deadliest days of the year.

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In the Huntington Beach neighborhood, people rode bicycles to the section of road cordoned off with police tape Friday morning to ask police and passersby what had happened. Signs of a gathering, including chairs, a cooler and soda cans, were still visible on a grassy median near the houses. Remnants of fireworks were also scattered throughout the street.

Local resident Al Pacella said he knew one of the victims of the attack, which occurred during a casual neighborhood gathering to mark the holidays.

“Just meeting up with the neighbors and some friends from the area,” Pacella said. “Everyone there is really nice and laid back, they’re all neighborly and help each other out.”

Pacella was returning from a bar and stayed at the party for a few minutes before heading home. Less than an hour later, he saw police lights outside his window.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “It’s just tragic.”

The district attorney’s office said the case had not been received by police as of Friday morning, but charges could be filed as early as Monday. A spokesman for the Orange County coroner’s office had no further details on the victims’ fatal injuries. And the mayor did not respond to a request for comment.

At least 18 other people were killed in shootings and other violence during the July 4 Independence Day long weekend, including 11 in Chicago, and dozens more were injured across the country.

Dazio and Ding reported from Los Angeles.

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