By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Three were arrested by Keizer Police Department officers Wednesday afternoon following a gang-related stabbing.
The incident happened in the Walgreen’s parking lot at 5000 River Road North, but led to authorities putting McNary High School in lockdown for about 40 minutes.
At 2:49 p.m. Nov. 6, officers responded to a call of a stabbing in the Walgreen’s parking lot. Officers were told one suspect was last seen running north on River Road N, wearing a blue sweater and tan shorts. A witness stated the young Hispanic male was bleeding from his mouth and possibly had a weapon.
Due to the direction of travel and the closeness to MHS, the school was put on lockdown.
Police located 20-year-old Martin Kirk-Varela of Keizer, a self-proclaimed Hang Out Boyz gang member, in the 300 block of Sandy Drive and detained him.
At the same time, officers spotted a black 1992 Acura Integra sedan headed east on Chemawa Road N, with three suspected gang members inside.
Officers stopped the vehicle and determined the three occupants had been involved with the stabbing. Driver Javier Jimenez-Casas, 21, was arrested as well as 18-year-old Roberto P. Rodriguez, a self-proclaimed member of the Brown Pride Toker gang. A 17-year-old male was also in the vehicle but was not arrested.
According to Sgt. Andrew Copeland with the KPD, officers determined the brief fight was gang-related. Kirk-Varela was walking on River Road when the Acura drove by.
“Mr. Kirk began throwing up gang signs, which led to the driver pulling into the Walgreen’s parking lot,” Copeland said. “The front passenger, Mr. Rodriguez, exited the vehicle and approached Mr. Kirk. Mr. Kirk, in anticipation of a fight occurring, pulled out a knife. Mr. Kirk and Mr. Rodriguez then engaged in a physical fight which left Mr. Rodriguez with two stab wounds and Mr. Kirk with minor injuries to his face.”
The fight lasted a few seconds before everyone left the scene. Police recovered the knife in the parking lot at Walgreen’s.
Kirk-Varela was arrested for Assault 2 and Disorderly Conduct, while Rodriguez was arrested for Assault 4 and Disorderly Conduct. Jimenez-Casas was arrested for Disorderly Conduct.
The stabbing was initially perceived to be a result of an unspecified incident earlier in the day at MHS. However, those arrested do not attend the school nor were they on school grounds prior to the incident, so officers determined the incidents were not related.
Copeland noted this was the fifth gang-related incident in Keizer this week.