Restaurant manager beaten unconscious after refusing to give men free pizza, friend says

Huntington Beach, California (KTLA) -- A Huntington Beach restaurant manager was brutally beaten by two men after he refused to give them free slices of pizza, the victim's friend said Monday.

The Huntington Beach Police Department confirmed two men were booked into jail in connection with the assault, which left the man unconscious and with a serious head injury.

Officers located the victim in the 300 block of Pacific Coast Highway just before 1 a.m. Sunday after being contacted about a fight in the area, according to a police news release.

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The victim, a 33-year-old man who managed Thunder Burgrz Pizza at 126 Main St., suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to a local hospital, the release stated.

His condition was not immediately known, but a friend told KTLA he had been placed in a medically induced coma. The friend, who wanted to remain anonymous, identified the restaurant manager only as Garret.

Two men who were detained at the scene were booked into city jail after police interviewed them and other witnesses in the case, according to the release.

Bryce Anthony Mezich, 21, of Anaheim, was booked into on suspicion of assault with serious bodily injury -- a felony -- and fighting in public; Austin Wright Callan, 22, of Anaheim, was booked on suspicion of fighting in public, the release stated.

Police would not confirm how the fight started, but the friend -- who witnessed the incident -- said it began when two men demanded free pizza, which Garret refused to give them. The friend said when the victim left the restaurant later, the pair jumped Garret and beat him unconscious.

A GoFundMe has been set up to pay for the victim's medical bill and rehab.

"Garret's just kind of that downtown Huntington Beach staple. He's always down here, he's always cheery, running around, saying 'hi' to everybody. High energy, super nice guy," the friend said.

The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Huntington Beach police at 714-536-5951.

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