Tremonton stabbing illustrates town's growing gang problem

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TREMONTON -- Tremonton police are investigating a near-fatal stabbing that happened Thursday night. Officers arrested two people with gang ties.

Police say this type of crime is unusual in Tremonton, but they have noticed an increase in gang-related issues. Officers want to crack down before it gets out of control.

"It's probably inevitable. It's something that's happening just about everywhere," Tremonton Police Chief David Nance said Friday.

"Oh, little, safe Tremonton; now it seems not so safe," said Tremonton resident Marci Corbett.

Thursday's attempted murder is certainly a reminder that serious crime can happen anywhere.

Just after 4 p.m., two groups started arguing in the parking lot of Ridley's Family Market at 74 S. 100 East . Police say a 20-year-old assaulted the victim, 18-year-old Felix Maldonado. Then a 15-year-old stabbed Maldonado several times in the stomach and chest, leaving him in critical condition.

Apparently, those involved have ties to Sereno 13, Nortena and Trece gangs.

"We do have people moving in, parents saying they're wanting to move to a smaller community to get their kids out of the bad influences of the city, gang problems, other problems they experience," Nance said. "But to a big degree, they're just bringing those problems up to this community."

It's starting young too. Tremonton and Garland police departments are working with Bear River High School to reach out to troubled youth. Teens and parents are starting to notice the danger.

"[There's] more violence, more drugs, more everything basically," said Bear River student Kearsten Griffith.

"The gangs are getting worse and worse every day. When I was in school, fights were all the time. It's just pretty bad here," said Tremonton Resident Calene Burgess.

"There's definitely gangs in Tremonton," Corbett said. "You wouldn't expect it but, there's definitely gangs."

Maldonado is now out of intensive care.

The 15-year-old suspect is in juvenile detention for attempted murder. The 20-year-old man was booked at Box Elder County Jail for assault.

Police say more arrests could come.


Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales and Andrew Adams.


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