Man calls alleged gang attack 'insane and unexpected'

Man calls alleged gang attack 'insane and unexpected' »Play Video
A McFarland house, seen Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, was the scene of an alleged gang attack on innocent victims Sunday, Aug. 19.
McFARLAND, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - McFarland police announced the arrests of three suspected gang members Tuesday in the weekend beating of a pair of college students. Officers said two victims were seriously hurt when gang members showed up at a party.

"To this day, I don't know why this whole rumble happened," Eduardo Rocha told Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

The party was at his house, as a send-off before he heads down to Marine boot camp.

Rocha said the party was starting to break up. His friends were heading down the driveway toward the street to go home.

But, trouble suddenly broke out.

"Bottles were flying everywhere," Rocha said. One friend ended up in the street with head injuries.

"I saw my friend, and he has stomp marks on his forehead," Rocha said. "His jaw is broken, he can't really talk."

Rocha said that friend is out of the hospital, but will head back for surgery.

He said the other badly injured friend is still hospitalized in critical condition. McFarland police said that man had bleeding on the brain.

Rocha said several other people at the party were hurt, but not as seriously.

He said the attack on his friends was "insane and unexpected." Rocha didn't know the suspected gang members, but they may have younger brothers about his age.

Rocha doesn't think his friends were specifically targeted by the gang members.

"I don't think so," Rocha said. "I think they saw that they weren't from this town."

He said the people attacked at the party were from Wasco, not McFarland.

McFarland police said they got enough information from witnesses of the attack that they identified suspects. Three have been arrested.

They're identified as Miguel Zepeda, 37; Martin Zepeda Jr., 19; and Sergio Covarrubias, 19.

Three more suspects are being sought: Alex Garcia, 22; Victor Garcia, 18; and Ricardo Duarte, 28. These men are listed as being from Bakersfield or McFarland.

Officers aren't sure why the gang members showed up at the party.

"There was some kind of disagreement going on at the party," Sgt. Scot Kimble told Eyewitness News. "And these gang members came after that."

"We feel it's an isolated incident," he added.

The officer couldn't say how many gang members live in the city now but said the number is staying about the same.

And, Kimble said gang crime is low.

"We haven't had any major incidents of gang violence for several months," the officer said.

He chalks that up to the department identifying gang members, and keeping a close eye them.

"That kind of cuts down on some of the incidents that could potentially happen, because they don't' want to do these crimes here in the city of McFarland," he said.

Rocha said the attack on his friends surprised him. He said there's still "tension" in the community, but thinks gang activity and crime are down.

McFarland police stress the suspects still on the loose are considered armed and dangerous. They want anyone with information to call their tip line at (855) 435-7623.

The three men in custody face a number of charges including attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, assault and participating in a street gang.

Sgt. Kimble said the department doesn't expect more fallout from the Saturday incident.

"We don't feel there will be any retaliation from this," Kimble said. "It wasn't anything involving two different gangs fighting each other." Police say the victims are students, with no gang affiliation.