Montgomery Police Charge Five More In Stabbings

By Fulvio Cativo and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Five more suspects -- three teenagers and two adults -- have been charged in the gang-related knife attacks last week at a Colesville area high school and a Target store in a Wheaton shopping center.

A total of 11 men and youths are now under arrest in connection with the attacks Friday at Springbrook High School and Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton. The stabbings left six teenagers wounded in a single day of violence that has drawn new attention to Montgomery County's street gang problem.

Police say MS-13, a violent Latino gang, was the aggressor in both attacks, which stemmed from a conflict between two rival groups. They have not named the second gang.

The three teenagers arrested late Monday in the Wheaton attack were identified as Alexis Rodriquez-Marquez, 15, of the 4500 block of Sellman Road in Beltsville; Jorge A. Arbaiza, 15, of the 700 block of Fairview Avenue in Takoma Park; and George Soto, 16, of the 9000 block of Manchester Road in Silver Spring.

All have been charged as adults with attempted first-degree murder, among other counts.

The two newest suspects charged in the Springbrook incident were identified by police as Santos M. Garcia, 28, of the 600 block of Ray Drive in Silver Spring, and Alfredo Sanchez, also known as Nelson Bernal, of the 13600 block of Lynn Street in Woodbridge. Both are accused of attempted murder, assault and conspiracy to commit murder.

Sanchez, 26, has a lengthy criminal record, with convictions for six offenses, including being an accessory to murder and improper disposal of a human body in 2004.

Sanchez, charging documents state, has several gang tattoos and is a known MS-13 member.

According to the charging documents, police on Friday created a perimeter around Springbrook immediately after the incident and stopped three people matching the description of the attackers in a residential area near the school. Two more suspects were taken into custody at a nearby strip mall, where they attempted to discard a bloody T-shirt inside one of the businesses, the document said.

Police at Springbrook were instructed by dispatchers to look for five or six Hispanic males, police said yesterday. According to dispatchers' descriptions, most were wearing black shirts and jeans and ranged in age from 15 to their early twenties. Some of the younger suspects were said to be wearing blue clothes. One was described as being tall and thin -- older than the rest, wearing a blue shirt, with a medium complexion, dark hair and mustache.

Charging documents say witnesses identified all five initially arrested as participants but said the person who committed the stabbing was not among the group. All five told police they were involved, documents say, but none admitted to the stabbing. Shown pictures of known MS-13 members, one of the suspects identified Sanchez as the person who stabbed the two victims, the documents state.

Sanchez's former girlfriend Sarai, the mother of his 11-month old daughter, told The Washington Post that his real name is Nelson Bernal Martinez. She asked that her last name not be used for fear of retaliation.

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