3-day weekend not just for barbecuing

It was a bloody Memorial Day weekend for Chico, as two incidents of violent crime sent at least four young people to the emergency room on Sunday and Monday.

Early Sunday morning, Butte County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a fight on Guill Street in Chapmantown. When they arrived, they found Daniel Lopez, 22, of Chico, suffering from a stab wound to the chest. A subsequent investigation led deputies to a “gathering” being held at a residence around the block, where three other people who had apparently been stabbed in a melee were attempting to recuperate.

Horacio Ramirez, 21, of Chico, was sent, along with Lopez and two unnamed 16-year-olds, to Enloe Medical Center for treatment. Ramirez was treated for his injuries and released later that day. No word was given on the status of the other victims.

Though no arrests had been made by press time, the incident is thought to be gang-related. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cheryl Broom said the investigation was being hampered by a lack of cooperation by victims and witnesses and has been turned over to the sheriff’s three-officer gang unit.

“One of the difficult things in gang investigations is the cooperation of victims isn’t what we’d like it to be,” Broom said. “Sometimes the gang officers can go in there and talk to people to turn up new leads.”

The other incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday, when Chico police were called out to investigate reports of gunfire at an apartment complex on West Fifth Street. On arrival, officers found 26-year-old Mike Vargas in his apartment suffering from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. According to police, Vargas was one of the many people who called 911 to report the incident. He was transported to Enloe for surgery, but no word was available at press time on his condition or discharge status. A police press report stated that his injuries appeared to be non-life threatening.

Taking reports at the scene, officers were told that a group of about four young males had been seen fleeing the apartment complex immediately following the shooting. Attempting to capitalize on this information, police stopped a group of about six young people who were walking through the neighborhood, but they were released when it was determined that they were not suspects in the shooting.

Calls to Chico police for comment were not returned, so it is unknown whether they have found any potential motives or suspects in the incident.