6 Teens Stabbed in Maryland Attacks

Officials block off the entrance to a Target store in Wheaton after four people were stabbed inside  --  one of two similar attacks in which five people were wounded.
Officials block off the entrance to a Target store in Wheaton after four people were stabbed inside -- one of two similar attacks in which five people were wounded. "This was not a random assault," an officer said at the store. (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)
By Fulvio Cativo and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 6, 2005

Six teenagers were stabbed in Montgomery County yesterday in attacks at a high school and at a shopping mall that left five of the victims severely wounded.

One police official said she believed that the attacks, first at Springbrook High School and then at a Target store in Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton, involved youths from the same groups.

"This was not a random assault," Capt. Patti Walker said at the scene of the Wheaton attack.

A police spokeswoman, noting the similarities in the attacks, which were three miles and four hours apart, said that the department was investigating whether they were connected but that she could not confirm that they were.

Three people were taken into custody in Wheaton and several others at Springbrook, police said, but none had been charged by late last night.

A witness to the stabbings at the recently renovated Westfield mall shortly before 5:30 p.m. said she saw "two or three" assailants atop one of the victims.

"I could just see the knife going up and down," shopper Trudi Brown said.

The father of one of the Wheaton victims, 16-year-old Francisco Rodriguez, said his son preferred playing video games at home to going out. "He never went out until today," said the father, also named Francisco Rodriguez. "Today he went out, just for this to happen to him."

Rodriguez and other relatives waited anxiously at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda last night for word on their children's conditions.

Two of the Wheaton victims were listed in critical condition last night. Two others were in serious condition. The victims in both attacks, all male, were expected to recover, police said.

The mall's owner, Westfield America, has spent $130 million over the past two years to transform the 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center, and the county's first Macy's recently opened there, along with numerous specialty stores.

According to police spokeswoman Lucille Baur, the attack at Springbrook, in the Colesville area, came after two summer school students, ages 16 and 17, argued in the school with a group of others. It was not known whether those others also were summer school students.


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