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Malibu Councilman Skylar Peak sent for psychiatric evaluation

Deputies take Councilman Skylar Peak to a psychiatric hospital after security guards at a Malibu shopping center alleged he threatened them with a sharp object.

July 20, 2012|By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times
  • Skylar Peak, 28, the youngest person ever elected to the Malibu City Council, leaves the water after a late-afternoon session at Malibu's famed Surfrider Beach in May.
Skylar Peak, 28, the youngest person ever elected to the Malibu City Council,… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

Malibu Councilman Skylar Peak was sent involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation and faces a police investigation after a run-in with security guards at a Point Dume shopping center.

The guards allege Peak menaced them with a sharp object, authorities said. Peak, a popular Malibu surfer who is the youngest person ever to serve on the City Council, denied the allegations and said that guards chased and pushed him after he tripped on a chair.

Peak said he had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been addressing his illness.

The episode unfolded about 10:45 p.m. July 11 when Peak, clad only in a black Speedo swimsuit, ran through the parking lot at Point Dume Village shopping center.

The guards alleged that Peak was screaming and throwing chairs in the center's patio area, according to Steve Whitmore, a sheriff's spokesman. "One of the security guards told our deputies that Mr. Peak attempted to stab him with a sharp object," Whitmore said. "He apparently had separated scissor blades."

Peak, 28, said in an interview Thursday that he was running home through the shopping center as part of his workout, hit his leg on a chair and cut a toe on some broken glass. The chair toppled and he yelled out in pain, he said.

"These guys started chasing me," he said. "Once we got out on the public street, I said: 'Get back on your property. You have no right to chase me.' " He said a guard pushed him twice in the chest.

Peak, a third-generation Malibu resident, electrician and music promoter, said he was carrying a pair of scissors that he planned to use to cut some rope that had become caught in a personal water craft. "I took them apart and clapped my hands together," he said. "I told them I was running home to my house. They called the cops."

After Peak left, Lost Hills sheriff's deputies arrived at the center and took a report of "battery and brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner," Whitmore said.

The deputies then went to Peak's home nearby at the Point Dume Club, where, Peak said, he told them they were not welcome. The deputies stood outside while he showered and dressed. Peak then went back outside and the deputies handcuffed him. He was not booked.

The deputies delivered Peak to Del Amo Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Torrance, to be held for a 72-hour evaluation. Peak said he was checked in about midnight and ended up staying five days because a patient advocate was not on duty during the weekend. He checked himself out on Tuesday.

In April, Peak was elected to the council on an anti-development platform. In June 2008, he made national headlines as one of two watermen tried on misdemeanor battery charges related to an alleged assault on a paparazzo who tried to photograph actor Matthew McConaughey near Point Dume. The case ended in a hung jury.

Peak said that neither his illness nor the incident would compromise his council duties and that he would speak to detectives once they contacted him. He also said he planned to press charges against the security guard "who unlawfully touched me and went to the newspaper and said I tried to stab him."

He added: "A security guard with weapons should not be chasing someone in plain sight wearing a Speedo."

martha.groves@latimes.com

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