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6 taken into police custody after Calif. high school fight

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Lunchtime fights at a Central California high school on Wednesday ended with police swarming onto campus, school closed and six people in custody, authorities said.

No major injuries were reported, however.

The trouble began when two girls began fighting at Righetti High School and two boys got into a second fight, said Kenny Klein, spokesman for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

During the fight, food was thrown.

Police, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, county firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers were called about 12:30 p.m. after a deputy who was serving as campus security called for backup after having food thrown at him while trying to stop a fight, authorities said.

A helicopter also was called to the scene.

“As you were walking to class, you saw cops in bulletproof vests. So that was kind of shocking,” said student Zach Burg, 17.

A video on the website of the Santa Maria Times appeared to show a deputy striking a girl during a struggle with a group of girls. A photo showed a deputy, his back smeared with cheese sauce, kneeling over a boy on the ground.

Six people were taken into custody, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told KEYT-TV.

“This is the beginning of the investigation, and we will look at who else was involved,” Hoover said. “There may be more arrests to follow.”

“School will be in regular session on Thursday. Security will be increased and those responsible will be disciplined,” Klein said in a statement.

Santa Maria is about 125 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

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