By JEFF CLEMETSON | La Mesa Courier
An alleged spitting incident; an alleged lewd act; a social media firestorm leading to a traditional media firestorm leading to an alleged assault of local reporters resulted in the arrest of Peter Carzis, 76, of La Mesa on Jan. 20.
Carzis was initially arrested on charges of felony vandalism and misdemeanor battery after several altercations with various reporters and camera operators in front of his Peter’s Gentleman’s Resale Clothiers store at 8329 La Mesa Blvd. A camera estimated to be worth $7,000 was damaged, according to a press release by LMPD.
The reporters had gathered at Carzis’ shop to get comment after a series of allegations — ranging from spitting on pepole to lewd acts — had surfaced in the La Mesa Happenings Facebook page. Comments about Carzis on the page indicated a pattern of “rude” and “obnoxious” behavior toward people in and around the Village dating back several years.
A recent incident where Carzis allegedly spit on a couple walking past his shop, and another where a person videotaped what appears to Carzis groping an elderly woman in front of his shop caught the attention of the press. On Jan. 20, several television news outlets were covering the story. When reporters asked Carzis for comment, he was filmed striking out and threatening reporters and film crew alike. One video captures the moment Carzis knocked a camera to the ground, damaging it.
On Jan. 23, The District Attorney’s office formally charged Carzis with one count of felony vandalism and three counts of misdeameanor battery for the altercations with the press. An additional charge of committing a lewd act in public was also issued for an incident that occurred on Jan. 18. Carzis will be arraigned on Feb. 24.
LMPD asks if anyone has information related to any of these incidents, or would like to report an additional crime, to call the La Mesa Police Department at 619-667-1400 or the Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line 888-580-TIPS or sdcrimestoppers.com.
—Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.