Friday Feb 20 2009
UPDATE: Family says their lives are threatened
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Gangs involvement suspected
It was a life and death situation – and it still is – for the family that was involved in a Wednesday night rumble, which included knives, baseball bats and pipes. “These people were in a life-threatening situation,” Monte Hernandez said. “They thought they were going to die.” Monte Hernandez’s daughter, Cassandra Alexandra Hernandez, is the only person authorities arrested so far after a fight involving more than 25 people broke out in Auburn Greens Wednesday night. The fight is now believe to have involved two rival street gangs. Sheriff’s deputies arrested 20-year-old Cassandra Hernandez of Auburn on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury after she reportedly drove her car into several people during the fight and left five injured Wednesday evening, according to sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Ausnow. One victim’s hand was partially severed by the car Hernandez drove and two male juveniles hit by the car sustained minor leg injuries. A 40-year-old man who was hit by Hernandez’s car was also reportedly stabbed and struck with baseball bats as he lay on the ground. A fifth person was stabbed in the hand. Monte Hernandez said his daughter was trying to flee for her life. He said that evening, his daughter, her mother, boyfriend and other family members were trying to pack when a large group of Sureño gang members approached them. He said the group started to attack his family. Monte Hernandez said there has been an ongoing conflict in the neighborhood. He said his daughter’s boyfriend used to be affiliated with the Sureños but was now trying to raise a family with Cassandra Hernandez. He said the family is now in hiding after being told there were death threats against them. “I’m trying to keep them safe,” Monte Hernandez said. “Somebody contacted us earlier that death threats were made. They said they were going to be taking care of my family today.” The fight, which included the use of baseball bats, pipes and at least one knife, was reportedly between two street gangs known as the Norteños and Sureños, according to witness statements given to Placer Sheriff’s deputies. Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office received multiple 911 calls about gunshots in the Auburn Greens neighborhood on Quartz Drive. Deputies responded and closed off the area while they interviewed witnesses and suspects. Ausnow said a language barrier was making it difficult to conduct interviews. Roy Uhl, who lives on Quartz Drive, across the street from where the fight happened, said he arrived home just shortly after the neighborhood became “chaotic.” “I heard a car hitting things, I heard everyone screaming,” Uhl said. Uhl said he could hear a combination of English and Spanish slurs and gang lingo. He saw a man who appeared to have bone sticking through his hand and was also suffering from a leg wound. He said in general, this kind of event is atypical for the neighborhood. “It seems to be personal, one-on-one altercations or assaults,” Uhl said. “It’s more like, you’ve got to know the people in order for them to hurt you.” The investigation is ongoing. Hernandez was released Thursday on $15,000 bail. Sheriff’s officials said Hernandez’s mug shot will not be released at this time due to the ongoing investigation. She is scheduled to appear in Placer County Superior Court March 24 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 31 at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.