- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Fairfax police say a group of Hispanic gang members Monday attacked a 24-year-old man with a machete, severely injuring his head and upper body and cutting off three fingers on his left hand.

This is the second attack in nine months in which a gang member in Northern Virginia used a machete.

Investigators said yesterday that the victim in the attack Monday is in serious condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital but declined to say whether he was a gang member or whether the attack was part of an ongoing feud between rival gangs.

The victim and his 21-year-old female friend were approached by a car at about 11:50 p.m. at the corner of Strawberry Lane and Gallow Road after attending a movie at the Lee Highway Multiplex Cinemas.

The victim exchanged words with three of four men in the car who chased him on foot toward the theater.

The suspects caught the victim, struck him several times with the machete, then fled in the car. Police described the suspects as males 18 to 25 years old, but did not give a description of the car. The victim’s female friend was found unharmed.

Fairfax police also said they did not know which gangs were involved in the attack.

In May, members of MS-13, a gang of mostly Salvadoran immigrant youth, attacked a 16-year-old member of the Southside Locos in Alexandria. Members of Southside Locos are primarily Hispanic , but the gang accepts youths of other ethnicities, as well.

Police initially reported the victim lost both of his hands, based upon a witness account and because they could not get information from the hospital. The victim sustained severe injuries to his hands, back and head.

Police arrested three men in connection with the attack and charged them with malicious wounding and participation in an illegal street gang. Two have been sentenced to 30 years in prison with half that sentence suspended.

MS-13 is a national gang that started in Los Angeles after more than a million Salvadorans fled to the United States during a civil war in their country from 1980 to 1992.

Southside Locos is an upstart gang supposedly started in Northern Virginia a few years ago by a disgruntled MS-13 member.

Police have only estimates on gang membership in Northern Virginia, but the most recent one is that MS-13 has about 2,000 members in the region.

The fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Herndon male after the machete attack in May also has been linked to MS-13. The incidents drew significant attention to the Washington region’s problem with gangs, prompting the federal government to funnel millions of dollars to anti-gang efforts and to create a national gang intelligence center run by the FBI.

Fairfax County Officer Bud Walker said there was no connection between the May incident and the attack on Monday. He also said that gang-related crime has not been a major problem in the past few months.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide