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Family bike outing ends with stabbing
PPD arrest two juveniles
A family out for a Thursday afternoon bike ride on the Rails to Trails path near downtown Porterville had an abrupt, brutal end to their spring break outing when the parents were stabbed in the face and head by suspected gang members who fled the scene before officers arrived. Two children, ages 7 and 10, were left visibly upset but uninjured.
Two juveniles have been taken into custody.
The incident began just before 3:45 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Henrahan Street and Harrison Avenue.
Officers arrived on the scene to find a husband and wife, ages 36 and 33, respectively, suffering from stab wounds.
According to the police report, the couple was riding bicycles in the area with their two children when the father was approached by three or four male juveniles and assaulted from behind. The mother was also assaulted by one of the attackers.
The suspects stabbed the couple in the head and face and fled prior to officers arriving on the scene.
The couple was transported to the hospital where they received treatment for the injuries and released.
“The female obtained superficial wounds to the top of her head, but the male sustained a pretty severe laceration on the face,” said Porterville Police Department spokesperson, Officer Dominic Barteau.
Detectives at the scene determined, through witnesses, a robbery had occurred during the assault and that the suspects were believed to be gang members. It is unknown why the suspects targeted the victims, adding it is typical for gang members to randomly intimidate innocent victims.
Detectives were able to positively identify a 16-year-old and 17-year-old juveniles as two of the suspects. The search led the detectives to the 400 block of South Park Street, where the two juveniles attempted to flee on foot but were apprehended after a short foot chase. Evidence implicating the juveniles in the assault was found, police said.
Both juveniles were arrested and transported to the Porterville Police Department for processing; were arrested and booked for alleged attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy, participating in a criminal street gang, child endangerment and mayhem; and transported to the Tulare County Juvenile Detention Facility.
On Friday morning, the neighborhood — situated across the street from the Rails to Trails path, two blocks north of the Tulare County Sheriff’s office and two blocks from Roche Elementary — was quiet once again but neighbors said they were still shaken up by the incidents of the day before.
Two separate neighbors, one living across the street and one further down, both reported hearing screaming and seeing a primed-gray, low pickup truck stopped in the middle of the intersection.
According to one neighbor, several individuals exited the truck, began yelling at the couple, slashed their faces and fled, leaving behind a screaming family and scattered blood. Her husband said he saw at least one suspect leave on foot, two on bicycles and one man in the pickup truck.
As of Friday morning, at least one suspect remains outstanding.
“Detectives are working on identifying the third suspect to get him in custody,” Barteau said.
The case is under active investigation and detectives are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Erik Martinez or Sergeant Mark Knox at (559) 782-7400.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.