Police arrest five in gang-related fight at a park in Tualatin
- The Times - News
About 20 people were reportedly involved in the Tuesday night altercation
TUALATIN - Five males were arrested Tuesday night after a gang-fight broke out amidst soccer games at Atfalati Park in Tualatin.
All of the men, three adults and two juveniles, arrested are Tualatin residents. The fight reportedly did not involve any weapons and no serious injuries were reported.
Tualatin Police Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Groth said every indication about the fight leads police to believe that it was gang related.
Gonzalo Valdez-Vega, 18, was charged with third-degree assault and riot. Erick Romero-Salgado, 21, Robert Villanueva, 16, Raul Medrano Jr., 20, and Hector Medrano, 16, were all charged with riot and disorderly conduct.
All of the suspects were taken to the Tualatin Police Department where the adults were cited and released for the listed charges and the juveniles were released pending charges in Washington County Juvenile Department.
In addition to the criminal charges, all of the suspects were formerly excluded from all City of Tualatin Parks for a period of ninety (90) days, in accordance with City of Tualatin Municipal Code. If they return prior to the end of the exclusion period, they will be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.
According to police reports Tualatin police officers, with help of deputies from the Washington and Clackamas counties' sheriff's departments, responded to a dispatch call about a possible 'gang fight' at the park at 6600 S.W. Sagert St.
Responding units found the park in use by about 100 to 200 people - mostly crowds of families and soccer players. Officers also reportedly observed a large group of about 20 people involved in a physical confrontation that quickly broke up when officers arrived. Some of the suspects fled on foot and were captured by Tualatin police. Other suspects were detained while still in the park or while attempting to leave in cars.
'I don't want this painted as a problem area,' Groth said, 'but yes we watch (the park area) closely.'
Groth was referring to the police response to the same park at 6600 S.W. Sagert St. in Nov. 30, 2005 after receiving a call about a possible fight between rival gang members. The fight never occurred as officers responded quickly to the call and made contact with 10 juveniles who all denied any knowledge of a fight or gang activity.
The next day a resident whose yard borders Atfalati Park reported finding two baseball bats in his yard. The press release at the time noted that police has received information about possible future fights and, based on the suspicious discovery of the bats, feared the bats may have been an indicator of future violence.