Four deputies injured, horse punched during large fight at Stanislaus County Fair

Four Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies were injured, a horse was punched and at least five people were arrested following a brawl on the last day of the Stanislaus County Fair on Sunday.

It was the busiest night of the fair with a large draw for singer Roberto Tapia, according to deputies and fair officials.

Sgt. Josh Clayton said one of the beer booths for unknown reasons closed 45 minutes early, at 9:45 p.m., causing larger crowds at the remaining booths.

Deputies were attempting to facilitate a line at the Cantina beer booth when they saw one attendee who was wearing gang attire and appeared to be drunk and trying to start fights. There is a zero tolerance policy at the fair for gang colors and indicia, said Deputy Royjindar Singh, who was one of the deputies involved in the incident but was not injured.

While deputies were making contact with the man, a second suspect, 25-year-old Ismael Flores of Ceres, came up and started throwing punches. He hit two of the deputies and more people in the crowd got involved, Clayton said.

During the melee, which Singh said lasted five to 10 minutes, four deputies suffered injuries from scrapes and bruises to a dislocated shoulder, and one of the suspects, 24-year-old Armando Nunez, allegedly punched a sheriff’s department horse.

“One fair goer who appeared to be supporting the subject who had started the altercation with deputies got knocked over by one of the horses, the sheriff’s department said in a post on its Facebook page Monday afternoon. “This subject got back up and was upset his beer had spilled. He proceeded to punch Maximus, the horse, in the rear end. He was subsequently arrested.”

All deputies assigned to the fair responded to the location to assist, as well as deputies on patrol, Turlock police officers and California Highway Patrol officers.

In addition to Flores and Nunez, three other people were arrested. Charges include assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, being drunk in public and, for Nunez, interfering with or obstructing a police horse.

As for the horse, “Maximus is recovering today by running around his pasture and eating alfalfa today,” the sheriff’s Facebook post read. “Maximus is still committed to serving justice and will not be dissuaded in his efforts.

“The deputies are doing just fine also. In total 5 arrests were made related to this incident. It should be noted that this was by far the busiest night of the fair. Overall, the fair has been a safe and family friendly event with only minor incidents.”