Stabbings linked to gang

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2002

Two people were stabbed and a third beaten Tuesday night, when members of a gang allegedly attacked citizens at a northwest Austin residence.

Another stabbing had occurred at the same residence Sunday evening.

Members of the Inland Empire Peckerwood chapter are believed to be responsible for the Tuesday night attacks and they remain at large.

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Both incidents may be related and an organization, claiming to be a &uot;hate group&uot; is flexing its muscles and drawing more attention from local law enforcement.

Austin police were called to 609 11th Street Northwest at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.

When they arrived at the residence, officers saw two stabbing victims lying on the front porch and another victim in the front yard.

Eyewitnesses told police, there were six people at the residence when a group of between 10 and 15 white males ran into the yard with baseball bats, bottles and knives and attacked them, according to Austin Police Department reports.

The assailants were described as "white males with shaved heads," who shouted the word "Wood" as they attacked the victims.

The eyewitnesses said the attacks were unprovoked. Police believe the

assailants parked their cars around the block from the residence and

then ran to it in the dark of the night.

Two of the wounded were 16-year-old Austin males. One suffered a stab

wound to the lower back, which threatened his spleen. He was taken to

Austin Medical Center and transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in

Rochester overnight.

On Wednesday, his condition was considered

"stable," according to the hospital.

Another 18-year-old Austin male suffered stab wounds on an arm and

leg. He was treated and released from AMC.

The third victim, a 16-year-old Austin male, suffered head wounds

when struck by a baseball bat. He also was treated and released from


Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philip said, "This was a crime of

violence, but I wouldn’t say it was race-related or a hate crime."

"I think it was a battle between two groups of people," the police chief


A 16-year-old Austin male was stabbed four times Sunday night at the

same residence.

In that incident, an 18-year-old Lyle woman – unidentified by police

– drove a man to the residence and he allegedly attacked the

juvenile. Then the woman drove the man away from the scene.

The woman was later arrested, but the assailant she aided remains at


Philipp said Austin police are "not ruling out the possibility that

this could be race-related." However, he characterized the Inland

Empire’s alleged Peckerwood chapter to be an organization, which

sells drugs for profit in Mower County.

The police chief based his opinion on data from a gang strike force unit

involving local law enforcement officers.

The unit

has been in existence for five to six years, according to

Philipp. The group meets regularly and shares information and

intelligence about gang-related activity. The organization also

involves local schools.

"We recognize gang activity as a growing problem," he said.

As for the Inland Empire’s influence, the police chief said larger

groups claiming to be criminal organizations have been observed in

the city and county, but none have been as "sophisticated and

experienced" as the Inland Empire group.

He said the organization’s membership includes members from

California where the gang originated.

"They know what they’re doing," he said.

The police chief said authorities believe the Inland Empire’s purpose

is "more about

selling drugs and not about race."

"They’re in the business to make money selling drugs," he said.

Another top law enforcement official supports the theory.

Terese Amazi, Mower County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy, agreed

with the police chief’s observations, but went further.

"Drugs is their main enterprise. Drugs and selling guns," Amazi said.

She said while the organization’s roots are in white supremacy

activities, Amazi does not believe that is what motivates the local

chapter’s activities.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at