Los Angeles News Photographer ‘Kidnapped’ at Knifepoint During Stay-at-Home Protest (Exclusive)

Crime scene tape in the foreground with a blurred police car in the background at a crime scene. (Credit: Deposit Photos/aijohn784)

An Orange County, Calif. man was arrested in connection with the armed kidnapping of a Los Angeles news photographer during a protest against COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions, the Huntington Beach Police Department confirmed Sunday.

A source told Urban Hollywood 411 that a reporter and photographer from Fox 11/KTTV were covering the demonstration on Friday evening in Huntington Beach, when a man “kidnapped” the photographer at knifepoint.

HBPD said the suspect was armed with a “pocket knife,” however, the photog was unharmed.

“A male was unhappy with the news crew filming him and allegedly threatened the camera operator while the reporter called police,” a spokesperson for the HBPD said in a statement. “The suspect allegedly held a pocket knife in his hand.”

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A second source with ties to the TV station said the photographer was “shaken” by the ordeal.

“He was held at knifepoint in the van by a guy who wanted to have his image deleted from the camera,” the individual said. “The guy, who was still in the van when the police arrived, was arrested.”

The incident happened at the intersection of Main and Walnut at 7:12 p.m. on April 17, the police department said. Christien Petersen, 36, of Costa Mesa was taken into custody at 7:49 p.m.

According to the HBPD arrest log, Petersen faces a charge of “exhibit deadly weapon other than firearm” during a kidnapping. The case is still under investigation, police said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the demonstration drew over 100 protesters. The gathering was part of a growing number of national protests organized by conservative groups due to restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Protesters carried signs saying “Live Free or Die,” along with American flags and banners supporting President Donald Trump. Some complained that the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19 is “killing business.”

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The Times article said few people in the crowd wore masks or practiced social distancing during the gathering.

As of April 19, there were 30,333 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,166 deaths in California, state figures show.