SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Several male teens assaulted another male teen Sunday in a suspected gang-related robbery attempt in East San Jose during the first weekend of an anti-gang program by San Jose police, a spokesman said Monday.
The 16-year-old male was walking with his girlfriend on Lido Avenue east of King Road around 3:45 p.m. when four or five gang members approached, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.
The gang members, also in their teens, tried to rob the girl of her purse and began to assault her, Dwyer said.
When the 16-year-old, himself a suspected member of a rival gang, tried to defend her, he was cut on his head by some kind of “edge weapon,” Dwyer said.
The teen’s injures were not life-threatening and he received stitches on his head, Dwyer said.
The teen suspects, still unidentified, fled on foot before police arrived, he said.
“We have determined that it is gang-related,” Dwyer said at a news conference about the assault. “We know the suspects made some kind of gang slur or statement to the victim. The victim we believe has gang ties as well.”
“So, it’s not as if these people are out there targeting people that not associated with gangs,” Dwyer said.
“It was probably just a matter of somebody who was associated with a gang walking through the wrong area at the wrong time, and they targeted him for a robbery,” he said.
The gang-related incident occurred two days after the San Jose Police Department announced its Violent Crime Reduction Plan to beef up enforcement and patrols in gang-heavy areas in San Jose over the summer months.
Police developed the plan in response to violence traced to gang clashes in San Jose, including eight gang-involved homicides so far this year of the 25 murders committed in San Jose in 2013.
The plan started last week with 40 to 45 new officers assigned per week all week for the rest of June in “gang suppression cars” with two officers each, increasing to 64 officers each week in July.
Officers from the SWAT and Special Operations units will also be in the mix on weekdays and weekends.
A Gang Suppression Unit debuts in August with two teams of officers deployed during hours of peak gang activity, seven days a week throughout the city.
Dwyer said that the attack on Sunday was “your prototypical kind of gang kind of crime that we’re trying to prevent.”
“They are grouping up in four to five people, they are taking on one or two, they are assaulting them, they are overwhelming them with numbers,” Dwyer said.
“That’s how gangs work,” he said. “They’re pack animals. They work in numbers and that’s where they get their strength.”
Friends of gang members, including the girlfriend of the assaulted teen gang member, may be regarded as gang associates by police, Dwyer said.
“I don’t know if the girl’s actually what we would call a gang member, but just the fact that she’s dating somebody who’s a gang member there’s some nexus, some connection.”
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