Fairfax Teen Is Charged In Machete Wounding
Gang Retaliation Suspected
By Maria Glod and Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 14, 2004; Page B01
A Fairfax County teenager has been charged in the machete attack of a 16-year-old boy, and sources said police are investigating whether a fight between rival gang members at a carnival at the Potomac Mills mall 10 days earlier was related to the assault.
Hayner R. Flores, 18, a reputed member of the violent and well-established Mara Salvatrucha street gang, or MS-13, was arrested about 10 p.m. Wednesday at his Annandale apartment, police said yesterday. He was charged with malicious wounding and participation in gang activity.
Police said Flores was among a group of gang members who assaulted the teenager, a member of rival gang South Side Locos, or SSL, as he walked along Edsall Road about 1 a.m. Monday.
The victim's hands were mutilated in the attack. All four fingers on his left hand were sliced off and his right hand was nearly severed, his doctor said. Police said the youth also had other unspecified wounds.
Fairfax County's acting police chief, Lt. Col. Suzanne G. Devlin, said yesterday that the department will be "really aggressive about prosecuting the people involved in this case," in part as a message to other gang members. In an effort to quell further acts of revenge between the two gangs, Devlin plans to continue stepped-up patrols in areas where gang members are known to gather.
Police said Monday's attack was the latest incident in a feud between Northern Virginia's two largest gangs. Arlington County police said an April 2003 fatal stabbing that occurred during a party at an Econo Lodge motel also stemmed from a dispute between MS-13 and SSL, a newer but growing gang that was founded by a former Mara Salvatrucha member.
Devlin said yesterday that it is unclear whether the wounded teenager was targeted or whether MS-13 members were seeking revenge against any SSL member.
A police source said detectives are investigating whether the assault was sparked by a confrontation between the two gangs that occurred 10 days earlier during a carnival at Potomac Mills in Prince William County.
Just before midnight April 30, the victim in the machete attack was at the carnival with fellow SSL members when a member of his gang punched a purported MS-13 gang member in the face, according to court records.
Prince William Detective John T. Mora said in court papers that he arrested the SSL member, Guillermo Amaya-Amaya, 18, and charged him with assault and battery.
Mora said Amaya-Amaya told him that he was not a gang member -- that he just hangs out with SSL. But in the arrest warrant, Mora said Amaya-Amaya was a member of SSL and charged him with participating in a street gang.
Amaya-Amaya told the officer that he threw the punch after the rival gang member "bumped his friend" and then flashed the MS-13 hand sign, Mora wrote in the papers filed in Prince William Circuit Court.
Fairfax police said the tension between the gangs has been evident in recent months as SSL's ranks increase across the region.
Mara Salvatrucha, which was formed by young men from war-torn El Salvador, started in Los Angeles but made Northern Virginia its East Coast hub, gang experts said.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company