Armed Arroyo Grande business owners stand on rooftops during protest

June 6, 2020

Men with rifles on top of a building on Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande

While several hundred protestors marched in Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande against police brutality and racism on Friday, several rifle wielding men stood on rooftops to guard against looters and vandals, leading to heightened animosity between local conservatives and liberals.

In San Luis Obispo County, dozens of protests have been primarily peaceful. In some larger cities, opportunists and vandals appear to have utilized protests over the death of George Floyd to loot and vandalize.

The looted businesses, burned down buildings, and shot or assaulted people trying to defend their property.

Motorcycle clubs line streets in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday

During a half dozen protests in SLO County, motorcycle clubs have lined the streets to protect the communities from looting and vandalism. Before and during protests, some business owners close early, others board up their buildings, and some wait inside with guns or baseball bats.

Before Friday’s protest, John Hackleman, the owner of The Pit Martial Arts and Fitness, posted a YouTube video noting looting in other areas, and warning that he would be protecting his property. He said that he has had to close his business because of the coronavirus, which appears to be a “hoax ‘ in our area because they are now letting large protests occur.

“I say protect free speech, but this free speech is turning into violence, brutality, murder, destruction of property,” Hackleman said. “We will be watching our gym. Walk quickly when you go past The Pit. Run past The Pit, don’t even f**king look at it.”

During Friday’s peaceful protest, men with rifles stood on the rooftops of a barber shop and The Pit Martial Arts and Fitness. They appeared to hold the rifles pointed down at the rooftops.

Following the protest, Grover Beach Councilwoman Mariam Shah said her son would no longer attend The Pit, and chastised the owner for “turning assault weapons on your own community members with different views,” according to a Facebook post.

A man with a rifle on The Pit roof in Arroyo Grande on Friday

Hackleman responded angrily, calling those asking for a boycott of his business “pathetic.”

“If someone breaks into your business or home, what the f**k are you supposed to do?” Hackleman wrote. “If you want to boycott The Pit because we were willing to protect ourselves and our neighbors from evil, violent, predatory, opportunist rioters, you do not want to come to The Pit, believe me, and we don’t want you there.”

Others have chimed  in on social media, some asking for a boycott of The Pit, other calling the owner names.

“Some ‘family’ friendly place you are, with armed thugs brandishing weapons on your roof at peaceful marchers,” Anthony Toohey wrote on Facebook. “We don’t need trash like that in our community.”

During the LA Riots in 1992, a group of business owners in Koreatown, dubbed the “Rooftop Koreans,” stood on top of buildings, armed with rifles to protect their community from looters. They were revered as heroes.


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Ted R

I stand in support of Hackleman. Just don’t pick up a brick, Shaw, you’ll be alright. No matter what party you are, be an American first. Unite We Stand, divided we fall.


Ted R

Shah, that is.


RalphKane

Since the left wants to defund and neutralize law enforcement, they can expect to see more armed citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights in the future to protect life and property.


This “bail reform” and criminal coddling by Soros and his ilk has already fomented a bumper crop of crime. Neutering the cops will only super-size it.


Democrats will get their just desserts when they dial 911.


obispan

Would Shah support the defense of the marijuana businesses she, Jeff Lee and John Shoals took money from? (when do we get that FBI report?). Probably not an issue since they are on the side of Antifa and the police would be ordered to defend those businesses.


Cindy

Councilwoman Shah is so dishonest and manipulative. The guns were never pointed at people, which would have been a crime. As a lawyer, Shah knows that. Read her Facebook post. Shah also claims the pit owner said coronavirus is a hoax, then Shah goes on to remind the public her husband is a doctor. The pit owner never said it was a hoax, he said in this county it is like a hoax with social distancing out the window for protests, while he had to close his business for months for social distancing. Mayor Caren Ray says she is disgusted with the pit owner, even though what he did was legal.


mercut1469

“heightened animosity between local conservatives and liberals”


I’m a liberal and I see no problem with this, considering the circumstances. I’m sure these gentleman are ready to accept the consequences of their actions. Good on them for being proactive.


lakerhater

I never saw it as a liberal/conservative issue, not sure why they wrote that. Just a business owner protecting his property.


Uncle Jack

If there were more people like Mr. Hackleman this world would be a much better, much safer place.


Please welcome law abiding people like this into our community. We are all safer with him here.


incompingov

When you have public officials disallowing the police from stopping looters and threatening to defund their own police departments, what do you expect business owners to do? Better be prepared to see a lot more of this if the looting, smashing and arson continue, unpunished.


IDBOUND

Well heck…. damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t .Most of the Pits negative commenters moved from big cities to escape crime .When big city crime comes to their new neighborhood they cry out the criminals have rights .. There’s a whole lot of cornfused folks in the world today .They have lost their common sense .There was alot of businesses from North county to South county with owners inside with guns but they kept it quiet .Pit will survive and the current free advertising will probably boost business when allowed to reopen .As long as they don’t apologize too many people apologizing these days for doing absolutely nothing wrong


Freethebud

Most of the protesters were local highschool students. Do we really need business owners armed with AR-15’s to protect building from these kids. Shame on you Hackleman. Well at least we now know who the conspiracy believing, gun toting nutjobs in our community are.


incompingov

You have nothing to worry about unless you’re planning to loot, smash and burn private property.


mazin

Unless someone with an assault rifle loses it.


Ben Daho

Hackleman never harmed a single person.

He’s letting people know they’re welcome to PEACEFULLY protest but he’s not willing to

stand by IF it turns violent including property damage without doing something to protect what he’s

worked hard to build. How hard is that to

understand?


As a veteran, I promised my country I

would defend the constitution even if it meant

giving my life. I’m a business owner as well, and

I’ll defend the first amendment, but I’ll also stand

side by side with Hackleman to protect his property.

What good is having a 1st amendment but unable to have Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if someone takes your life’s work away?


I’m not sure how that got twisted. Hackleman simple stated, he’ll defend his property.


If we were being invaded by some group,

terrorists, random whatever, you’d be hoping to

see Hackleman and honorable, brave citizens standing on post.


Btw, I’ve met Hackleman in the past, who hasn’t?

He doesn’t know me, he’s never asked me

to defend him, he doesn’t need my help but C’mon it’s not that hard to understand. Don’t destroy property, “The Pit”, or anything that’s not yours. no problem.


obispan

But many of them were paid outside activists looking to commit violence if given the chance. Their chances are significant diminished by the rooftop non-Koreans, though I’m sure they would welcome Korean help.


RalphKane

It’s none of your damn business whether “we really need” it or not.


The Second Amendment is a Constitutional right, not your opinion.


shelworth

Did you see the video of the 14 year old kicking the unconscious man in the face and knocking his teeth out? Maybe you should. How about the teens setting fires?


blackjack

Any parent who raised a high school student feeling the need to protest against the wrongful death of a guy with multiple convictions who held a gun to the stomach of a pregnant woman in a home invasion back in the day in front of “the Pit” in A.G. should be throat punched by Chuck …period


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