Machete-Wielding Gang Attacks Man, Cuts Off Fingers

Jon Ward, Washington Times, Jan. 5

Fairfax police say a group of Hispanic gang members Monday attacked a 24-year-old man with a machete, severely injuring his head and upper body and cutting off three fingers on his left hand.

This is the second attack in nine months in which a gang member in Northern Virginia used a machete.

Investigators said yesterday that the victim in the attack Monday is in serious condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital but declined to say whether he was a gang member or whether the attack was part of an ongoing feud between rival gangs.

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In May, members of MS-13, a gang of mostly Salvadoran immigrant youth, attacked a 16-year-old member of the Southside Locos in Alexandria. Members of Southside Locos are primarily Hispanic , but the gang accepts youths of other ethnicities, as well.

Police initially reported the victim lost both of his hands, based upon a witness account and because they could not get information from the hospital. The victim sustained severe injuries to his hands, back and head.

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Police have only estimates on gang membership in Northern Virginia, but the most recent one is that MS-13 has about 2,000 members in the region.

The fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Herndon male after the machete attack in May also has been linked to MS-13. The incidents drew significant attention to the Washington region’s problem with gangs, prompting the federal government to funnel millions of dollars to anti-gang efforts and to create a national gang intelligence center run by the FBI.

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