Hemet man arrested after Seal Beach bear spray attack during road rage incident

SEAL BEACH, Calif. — Authorities say a 43-year-old Hemet man, who sprayed bear-spray into a family’s car during a road rage incident in Seal Beach about a week ago, was located and arrested at his residence Sunday, June 20. Three people, including a juvenile, were injured in the attack, which happened in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Anderson Street.

Bear spray is concentrated, and highly irritating aerosolized deterrent spray similar to pepper spray which is generally sold in a larger container than the legal 2.5 ounce sized canisters of pepper spray. Unlike conventional pepper spray, which is legal to carry for most citizens and can be used for personal self-protection, in almost all cases bear spray is illegal to use against humans.


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City of Seal Beach police officers began investigating the reported road rage incident on Monday, June 14, at around 1:55 p.m., after receiving a 911 call from a family reporting the incident. The family who called 911 reported that an unknown male subject had sprayed pepper spray into the open windows of their vehicle, affecting both the driver and two occupants of the vehicle.

When officers arrived at the scene they found one juvenile and two adult victims suffering from exposure to bear spray. Several of the responding officers were also overcome by the lingering fumes caused by the spray.

“The victims all suffered injuries including eye and skin irritation,” Seal Beach PD officials later reported. “When officers responded to the scene, they were also affected by the residual spray in the air and on the victims.”

All were were treated at the scene by Orange County Fire Authority personnel.

Marcus Kelley, 43, of Hemet, was arrested and his vehicle was impounded as evidence following a road rage incident where he allegedly used a can of bear spray to incapacitate three victims in Seal Beach on June 14th. The victim’s injured during the incident included two adults and a juvenile. Seal Beach Police Department photos

During their subsequent investigation, officers learned that the victims had been traveling southbound on Pacific Coast Highway when they became involved in a verbal altercation with another driver, since identified as Marcus Kelley, 43, of Hemet.

Not wanting to endanger themselves or the child in their car, the victims made the decision to pull off Pacific Coast Highway, “in an attempt to distance themselves from the other vehicle and end the altercation,” SBPD explained.

The victim driver then parked his vehicle on Anderson Street and exited the car.

Kelley then reportedly pulled up next to the victims’ vehicle and without warning sprayed the entire passenger compartment of the vehicle through the car’s open windows.

“After discharging the bear spray, the suspect drove off southbound on Pacific Coast Highway and was not immediately located,” said officials; who added that several people in the area witnessed this incident, which was also partially captured on video surveillance.

Detectives spent the next week working to identify the suspect, who was last seen driving a faded green, 2006 Saturn. As their investigation continued, on Sunday, June 20, detectives located Kelley in Riverside County and arrested him without incident. Detectives also seized Kelley’s car as evidence at the time of his arrest.

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Kelley was later booked at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of assault and battery, unlawful use of pepper spray, and felony child endangerment. Online jail records indicate Kelley has since been released from custody.

“Seal Beach Police investigators have reason to believe that Kelley may have committed similar crimes in the Southern California area,” officials said after Kelley’s arrest; adding that if you believe you were a victim or have any information about this or other incidents, to contact Detective Bruno Balderrama at (562) 799-4100 ext. 1109 or by email.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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