The FBI on Tuesday continued to investigate an incident in which 17 men were detained for reportedly firing off hundreds of rounds in a remote part of Apple Valley.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies and an FBI agent responded to the scene Sunday morning and detained the men – reportedly all of Middle Eastern descent – who were camping out in the Deep Creek Hot Springs area Sunday morning, authorities said.
A 911 caller reported hearing over 100 shots fired and seeing five to seven men wearing turbans and shooting “assault rifles, handguns, and shotguns,” according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.
A county sheriff’s helicopter located the men walking near a creek with backpacks “and other items”, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Officials say the men were cooperative as they were detained and searched.
Several handguns, a rifle, and a shotgun were found at the scene, but a records check found all the weapons were registered with the exception of the rifle, which reportedly didn’t have a serial number because it was purchased in parts, an FBI spokesperson told The Times.
Police scanner traffic posted online by the Victor Valley News Group described “a large group of subjects wearing turbans and chanting” at the scene.
“They were up all night chanting ‘Allah akbar’-type stuff,” an unidentified officer is heard saying on the audio recording.
None of the hikers interviewed by Sheriff’s investigators say they witnessed any shots being fired, according to Sheriff’s officials.
A photo of the arrests showing several men handcuffed at the scene was posted by the Victor Valley News Group but was not immediately confirmed by authorities.
All 17 men were eventually released because Sheriff’s investigators say they had no outstanding warrants or criminal histories.
“There was no evidence found that a crime had been committed by any of the subjects who were detained and they were released,” a Sheriff’s spokesperson said.
The FBI will conduct further interviews with the men to determine if any crimes were committed.
Nearby residents said they were concerned by the activity.
“If there’s something going on wouldn’t you want your local police or law enforcement to take care of it so that citizens like you or myself don’t have to ate it into their own hands?” said a resident, Eliseo Rodriguez.