Four men and a juvenile were arrested early Saturday morning in the off-road-vehicle area of San Gabriel Canyon after they allegedly beat a man and set fire to his truck. According to Sheriff's Department reports, Kenneth Rice, 34, of Azusa, said he was attacked by the group after he tried to intercede in an argument. The five people, who had been drinking, beat Rice with their fists, took plumbing tools from his truck and smashed the vehicle's windows, said Detective Ronald Abelott of the Sheriff's Department arson-explosives detail.
According to Abelott, Rice attempted to escape in his truck, but crashed. The five assailants pulled Rice out of the truck and resumed beating him, then poured gasoline on the vehicle and set it on fire.
Rice, who suffered bruises on his head and face, was treated at San Dimas Community Hospital and released. His truck was damaged beyond repair. Sheriff's deputies arrested Devron Erkle, 23; Edward Nichols, 25; Antonio Valdez, 19; John Calderon, 20, and a juvenile whose name was not released. The charges are suspicion of arson and felonious assault, Abelott said.