August 10, 2008

Two Arrested in Connection With Stabbing, Charged With Hate Crimes

REDLANDS - Two teens were charged Thursday night in a racially motivated assault after a stabbing victim showed up at a hospital emergency room.

The boys, ages 16 and 17, were first arrested for stealing vodka from the Von's grocery store in the 500 block of Orange Street after a store employee reported suspicious activity at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

Responding officers spotted the teens running south on Sixth Street near Colton Avenue, said city spokesman Carl Baker.

While police were investigating the thefts, dispatchers received a call of a stabbing victim at St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino.

When officers got to the hospital, they learned that the 22-year- old victim and another person had been involved in a fight with the same suspects earlier on Orange Street beneath the Interstate 10 overpass. During the fight, the 22-year-old was stabbed, Baker said.

The fight reportedly started when the suspects, who are both Hispanic and documented gang members, yelled racial slurs at the victims, who are black, Baker said.

During the investigation, officers found the 16-year-old boy in possession of a knife, and confirmed it was the weapon used in the stabbing, Baker said.

In addition to the theft charges, the 16-year-old was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Both boys were charged with hate crimes. An enhancement was added to the charges for suspicion of gang involvement, Baker said.

The boys were taken to Juvenile Hall.

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