Monday, May 12, 2008

Pro Surfer’s Death Exposes Beach Town’s Violent Side

The authorities say the shirtless man was Eric House, 21, with whom Mr. Kauanui had been drinking at the La Jolla Brew House, a nearby bar. It was there that Mr. House may or may not have flirted with Mr. Kauanui’s girlfriend, according to the police, and there that Mr. Kauanui may or may not have intentionally spilled a drink on Mr. House. Witness accounts are contradictory.

What seems beyond dispute is that a security guard at the bar asked Mr. Kauanui to leave and that Mr. House and four others — Mr. Cravens; Orlando Osuna, 23; Matthew Yanke, 21; and Henri Hendricks, 22 — later drove to Mr. Kauanui’s home, prosecutors say to retaliate against him.

Mr. Kauanui’s head “buckled up and down like a bobblehead doll” during the fight, Mr. Hendricks told the police. When Mr. Kauanui fell back onto the sidewalk, his head landed on the concrete with what Mr. Cravens described to the police as “a loud thud.”

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