Gang Involvement Eyed in Capistrano Stabbing

April 10, 2009

By Jonathan Volzke, The Capistrano Dispatch

Authorities suspect a truckload of men who stabbed two others in San Juan Capistrano on Thursday night were somehow connected to a rival gang in San Clemente.

Injunctions were obtained against 239 alleged members of gangs in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano in late 2007. The injunctions prohibit those listed from hanging out with each other or even wearing gang-related clothing. The injunctions identified areas as “safety zones” where the strict regulations were in place.

But about 8:10 p.m. Thursday, a pickup truck carrying five Latino men pulled into the 32000 block of Paseo Carolina, a complex of condos in one of the city’s “safety zones.” The men jumped out of the truck and repeatedly stabbed two men, said Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Ted Boyne. The victims were 17 and 20. The attackers jumped back into the truck and left.

The stab victims were critically injured, but taken to Mission Hospital. Their condition on Friday was stable and they were expected to survive, Boyne said. Boyne said authorities suspect the men in the truck are somehow connected to the San Clemente gang.

The Capistrano and San Clemente gangs have feuded for decades, after a car club split over a fight for a woman, authorities said. The injunctions have not stopped the violence: In June, a 14-year-old Capistrano boy, Jonathan Mendez, was killed when he and other Capistrano teens allegedly accosted a group of teens in San Clemente in what authorities say was a gang-related clash. Then in August — on the day Mendez would have turned 15 — authorities found the body of a Juan Montes, who was listed in the injunction as a member of the San Clemente gang.

Capistrano residents have also reported more incidents of apparently gang-related tagging in recent weeks.

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