Man in coma after dispute over towel sparks massive brawl at California water park

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – One person was in a medically induced coma Monday, Aug. 26 after a large brawl broke out at Raging Waters in Sacramento, according to police.

The melee, involving about 40 people, started as a dispute between between two families over a beach towel, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Everest Robillard, chief of the Cal Expo Police Department, confirmed they received reports of the altercation around 3:30 p.m. Sunday inside the park.

“One person was down on the ground, semi-unconscious,” Robillard said. “We provided CPR and first aid on the scene.”

Robillard confirmed the man injured was Christopher Neves, 35, from Modesto. Neves didn't have a heartbeat when officers found him, but paramedics used CPR to get his heart beating again, Robillard said. Neves and his mother were rushed to a hospital.

“(His mother) wasn’t assaulted. She was just emotionally excited about it -- had asthma, seizure,” he said.

As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, Neves was in stable condition in an induced coma.

“We came here, having a great time. Unfortunately, it ended soon,” park-goer Gonzalo Bustante told KTXL.

He described seeing a “big group yelling back and forth to each other, and they started getting a little physical."

Bustante was with his family when he saw two large groups with more than a dozen people on each side getting into a huge brawl.

“Next thing, I see a chair getting broken over some guy’s head,” he explained.

“I can’t even take my kids to a water park without something crazy happening,” said witness Skyler Lemmons. “It doesn’t make me feel safe to go anywhere.”

Families were forced to leave the park after it closed early for the day. People escorted out of the park were all given passes to return another day as officials worked to figure out what caused the violent altercation.

“I took my kids and my nieces away. They were going everywhere, so anything could have happened. Apparently, some kids were getting hurt,” Lemmons said.

Police said Monday they were still doing interviews and reviewing comments made on social media as the investigation continued. No arrests were anticipated in the immediate future.

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