Big Bear News – Big Bear City, CA – On Saturday, February 20, at approximately 7:20 p.m., deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station responded to a call of an assault that occurred at a residence in the 1000 block of Malabar Way in Big Bear City. The reporting party advised Sheriff’s Dispatch that numerous subjects entered the residence and began beating the victim. The suspects fled the scene as deputies were en route to the residence.
Through investigation, it was determined that several subjects broke into the home while the victim was sitting on the couch. The victim was pinned to the couch and was punched multiple times and hit with hammers. Some of the subjects were wearing coverings on their faces. The victim recognized one of the subjects who was not wearing a face covering and identified him as Thomas Christian. The subjects who broke into the house were known to the victim. The victim provided information to responding deputies that Christian lived in Yucaipa. The victim was also able to provide a general description of the vehicles the subjects were driving. The victim was driven to a local hospital for treatment of the injuries sustained in the assault.
A report of gunshots in the area came in shortly after the assault was reported. No one at the victim’s house was injured by gunfire, nor did any nearby hospitals report any victim of a gunshot wound being treated.
With the assistance of Sheriff’s Aviation, the suspects were tracked to Christian’s residence in Yucaipa. While conducting surveillance on Christian’s house, two vehicles matching the descriptions provided by the victim were observed pulling into the driveway. Multiple subjects were seen immediately leaving the location, including a male driving one of the suspect vehicles.
Deputies from the Yucaipa Station located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was identified as Joseph Benson. Benson was taken into custody and booked into Central Detention Center on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy, with bail set at $50,000.
A search warrant was subsequently served at suspect Thomas Christian’s house and evidence related to the assault was seized. Christian was home at the time of the search and was arrested and booked into Central Detention Center on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy, with bail set at $50,000.
Both suspects have been released on bond. The matter has been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for filing of criminal charges.