- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Six men were charged yesterday following a melee at a soccer game near Culpeper, Va., Sunday in which men wielding knives and machetes killed one man and injured three others.
Milton Grijalva, 26, a player on one of the teams, died shortly after being stabbed in the side when he came to the aid of his father, Eduardo Grijalva, the teams coach, who was trying to break up a fight between spectators on the sidelines.
Culpeper County Soccer League President Manuel Casillas was refereeing the game, one of three that was scheduled to take place before about 200 spectators on Sisk Field. He said the incident began as an altercation between two men from the same town in Mexico who are known in the community to be enemies. According to witnesses, the fight was a continuation of a brawl that had begun the previous evening at a nightclub.
"Two people got it started and then eight or nine more came in," Mr. Casillas said. "The coach said, 'Leave him alone. Hes by himself. Then they turned on him."
When Eduardo Grijalva intervened, more men emerged from nearby cars with knives and machetes. Mr. Grijalva attempted to fend off the attackers with a stick, but lost his footing.
John Henry Escalante, a close friend of the victim, said the players on the coachs team came to his defense. They put their hands in the air to signal they had no weapons, but Mr. Escalante said a man with a stick swung for his head. Mr. Escalante ducked, and the man hit the younger Mr. Grijalva, who was knocked to the ground. Another man then stabbed the younger Mr. Grijalva in his left side.
Mr. Escalante said Mr. Grijalva shrieked in pain. In desperation, his friends put him in a car to take him to a hospital, but the men, who are from Fredericksburg, werent familiar with the area. Blood began to pour from Mr. Grijalvas mouth and ears, and he rested his head in his fathers lap and died before they reached a hospital.
Two others stabbed in the fight, Roger Condes, 21, and Israel Jimenez, 21, suffered knife wounds to the neck and lungs. They were transported by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where a hospital spokeswoman said they were in fair condition yesterday. Eduardo Grijalva fell and broke his wrist trying to fend off the man who stabbed his son. He was treated at Culpeper Regional Hospital and released.
Culpeper County Sheriff Lee Hart said yesterday the investigation into the fight is ongoing, and his office is looking into reports that the initial attack was gang-related. Culpeper County Commonwealths Attorney Gary Close said its too soon to say for sure what caused the fight.
"As I understand it, they were all involved in the soccer game," he said. One of the men facing charges appeared in court yesterday still wearing his soccer uniform. Mr. Casillas said he saw at least two players go to their cars and get weapons before joining the brawl.
Bernade Jalindo Garcia, 19, was charged yesterday with second-degree murder. He fled the scene, but police arrested him late Sunday. He also faces three felony counts and one misdemeanor count of assault by mob. Also facing the three felony and one misdemeanor charges are Jose Luis Sanchez Diaz, 21; Angel Sanchez Cruz, 21; Jumaro Sanchez Zamora, 19; Horacio Sanchez Corona, 20; and Thomas Sanchez Hernandez, 19. Mr. Diaz also is charged with brandishing a firearm.Mr. Close said the six are being held without bond. A preliminary hearing is set for July 30.
Meanwhile, friends yesterday mourned the loss of Mr. Grijalva, whom they remembered as "the most nonviolent person you could have ever met."
Julie Escalante, a close friend of the Grijalvas, said Milton was "a very good friend to everybody" and choked back tears as she considered what the loss would mean to Mr. Grijalvas wife and 18-month-old son. She said Eduardo Grijalva has been racked with guilt over the loss of his son.
Mr. Casillas said one team in his 12-team league has notified him it wont be back and another will be kicked out for joining the fracas.


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