According to police spokesperson Liz Wylie, the six Nortenos were walking home Nov. 25 from Terra Bella Academy — a county-run school for at-risk students on Terra Bella Avenue — when they encountered a group of Surenos on N. Shoreline Boulevard. A fight broke out, and one Sureno was grazed with a knife.
"They are all at Terra Bella together. It is always brewing," Wylie said of the two gangs.
By the time police arrived on the scene most of the people involved in the fight had fled, and there was not enough evidence to make an arrest, Wylie said. The victim was not hospitalized or seriously hurt, and did not report the crime for several days.
After a week of gathering information from school staff and the victim, police arrested six minors on Dec. 3 and 4 associated with the Nortenos, and charged one of them with assault with a deadly weapon. The other five were charged with battery. All are 16 or 17 years old.
"They all got into a fight, but it seems the Nortenos were the first to make blows," Wylie said. "It turned into a big case over the course of a week."
Wylie said it appears that the number of violent crimes involving gang members increased in 2008, even though overall gang-related crimes decreased this year. The police department is still tallying up the information.
The Terra Bella case is not yet closed, and there still could be more arrests, Wylie said.