VAN NUYS (CNS) — Two Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters were charged along with a another man on Tuesday, Dec. 9, for allegedly assaulting a man who was handing out candy on Halloween.
One of the firefighters, 36-year-old Michael Anthony Vitar, is a former child actor who appeared in the 1993 film “The Sandlot,” portraying Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, and two “The Mighty Ducks” films.
Vitar was charged along with fellow firefighter Eric Carpenter, 38, and one of Carpenter’s neighbors, Thomas Molnar, 45. Each was charged with one count of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Carpenter was also charged with personally inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
According to prosecutors, Carpenter was hosting a Halloween party at his Chatsworth home attended by Vitar and Molnar. They became upset when they saw a 22-year-old man, who was in the area visiting his grandmother, handing out candy to kids as he walked down a street, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The trio ran after the man and jumped him, and Carpenter allegedly choked him, prosecutors said.
Carpenter faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said. Vitar and Molnar face up to four years in prison.
The three were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, but the hearing was postponed until Jan. 21.
Carpenter and Vitar have both been placed on paid leave, according to the LAFD.
“The Los Angeles Fire Department is aware of an incident involving two off-duty firefighters that is alleged to have occurred on Saturday, October 31,” according to the LAFD. “The department has cooperated fully with law enforcement during the subsequent investigation. Both members have been placed on administrative leave with pay as the criminal case proceeds.”