Norteños, Sureños brawl in Oakdale park

Saturday, May. 30, 2009

Bee Staff Reports

OAKDALE — Police broke up a fight in a park between eight or nine Sureño and Norteño gang members Friday evening.

The Norteños, armed with baseball bats, started the brawl around 7:40 p.m. when they confronted the Sureños at Brennan Park, police said.

The only injuries were small abrasions from fists, but police arrested three Norteños and recovered a 3-inch-round, 20-inch-long wooden table leg and a red, metal baseball bat. Norteños favor the color red.

As police were responding to the fight, 15 people showed up at a Rite Aid pharmacy across town dressed from head to toe in red, said Sgt. Michael Eggener. Oakdale police called for help from Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies to deal with the group.

Eggener said he believes the 15 were on their way to Brennan Park but backed off when Norteños there called them when police arrived.

“Even the guy I chased was grabbing his cell phone,” Eggener said.

Eggener said the 15 denied being gang members but he suspects they are. They live in Modesto, Salida and Lathrop, he said.

“It was just too coincidental regarding the timing,” Eggener said.

There were five or six Norteños versus three Sureños in the park fight, Eggener said.

He said in the past six months there’s been a rise in tension between the two rival gangs in Oakdale.

“We’ve been having problems were they are smashing each other’s windshields,” he said, adding the rivals also have been tagging each other’s property with graffiti.

Eggener said Oakdale residents Michael Anthony Duran and Gerardo Perez Jr. were arrested in the park fight. He said both are 19 and Norteño gang members. Police also arrested a 16-year-old Norteño gang member from Oakdale in the fight.

Duran was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a criminal street gang activity. Perez was arrested on suspicion of assault and participating in a criminal street gang activity. Both were to be booked at the Stanislaus County Jail.

The 16-year-old was arrested on suspicion of battery, participating in a criminal street gang activity, and delaying and obstructing an officer. He was released to his parents.

Eggener said there are 25 active Norteño and 20 active Sureño gang members in Oakdale. He said they are considered active because police have documented their participation in the gangs for at least the past year.

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