Shots fired at gang clash in Kings Beach
October 11, 2001
KINGS BEACH – Rival Hispanic street gangs clashed on the streets of Kings Beach last Friday night, resulting in a smashed-up vehicle and a gunshot that narrowly missed a 12-year old girl.
Carina Diez was standing on her front porch between 8 and 8:30 p.m. at 8783 Brook St. when a bullet tore a hole an inch in diameter, in the planter at her feet. She ran into her house scared but unharmed, according to her uncle Jesus Diez, who was three apartments over when the melee began.
According to Diez and other witnesses at 8783 Brook, several Hispanic males rushed out of the North Shore Mobile Home Park, at least one brandishing a gun, when a red two-door car stopped near the park’s north entrance.
A fight ensued, before the two inhabitants of the vehicle took off running. The vehicle, including all of its windows, was subsequently smashed by baseball bats and large rocks, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicle had recently been sold and investigators are still trying to find the new owner.
Another residence, occupied by a suspected member of the Sureno gang, had large rocks thrown through two windows.
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Diez said that three shots were fired in total, two into the air and the one that nearly struck his niece. The sheriff’s office can only confirm one shot, but said there were conflicting reports of between one and three. There were no injuries reported.
According to Sgt. Don Hutchinson of the sheriff’s office, between 20 and 30 people, ranging in age from 16 to early 20s, were involved in the fight. No one has been charged with a crime or taken into custody, according to Hutchinson.
“We’ve got investigators looking into it,” he said. “I would say it absolutely is one of our top priorities.”
Gang activity in Kings Beach has been on the rise in recent months, especially in Kings Beach, Incline Village and Truckee. Hispanic street gangs identifying themselves as Nortenos (northerners) or Surenos (southerners) have graffitied property and fences throughout Kings Beach and there have been scattered reports of violence, though this is the first incident involving a firearm.
A red bandanna, indicating affiliation with the Nortenos gang, was found near the smashed car. Diez said that there had been a smaller fight in the same location the previous day. Two Hispanic students were involved in a fight at the high school the previous week, according to Hutchinson. Still, Hutchinson said the sheriff’s office had no indication of the impending skirmish.
“Whether they were driving around looking for a fight or whether it was planned – it’s hard to tell,” Hutchinson said. He also said that they had already increased the number of patrols in Kings Beach.
Residents of the neighborhood said that such steps would be welcomed. “The police need to be more watchful of the gangs here,” said Diez. “[The gang members] have many problems. They should go to jail.”
Any information related to the incident may be reported to the Placer County Sheriff’s, North Lake Tahoe Investigations Division at (530) 581-6300.