Two men who police said tried to steal a woman’s purse early Monday got more than they bargained for when as many as 15 of the victim’s family members and friends rushed to her aid and then severely beat, shot and stabbed the suspects.
Fayetteville police officers arrived at the scene of the melee in the Cambridge Arms apartments about 12:45 a.m. and found two men lying on the pavement of the parking lot with multiple stab and gunshot wounds. Police found a group of the woman’s relatives walking in the parking lot covered in blood.
One of the accused robbers was critically injured in the attack and remained on life support Monday, police said. The other was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and released.
Maria Consuelo Ramirez Flores, a longtime friend who knew the victim’s family when they were still in El Salvador, said through a translator Monday that robberies, break-ins and other crimes have been persistent problems in the area. The Hispanic community has gotten fed up, and some members decided to take matters into their own hands Monday morning, she said.
According to police, 22-year-old Raufeal Weddy, of the 3900 block of Village Drive, and 26-year-old Terrel Battle, of the 1100 block of Clark Street, were armed with a handgun when they tried to rob Maria Guevara, 47, of her purse.
One of the suspects, a known Blood gang member, was wearing a red bandana across his face when he approached Guevara, according to police.
“Both suspects were shot during the initial struggle, with the suspect’s gun, and then the family severely beat, stabbed and cut both suspects,” Davis said.
Flores said she had just come home from a birthday party in Lumberton about 12:50 a.m. Monday when she saw the two men get out of a car driven by a third man.
Flores, who had been watching from her apartment in the building next door, went next door when she realized the men were attacking her friend.
The third man had the car doors open and was yelling for the men to get back inside, but he drove off after realizing his accomplices were outnumbered, Flores said. Police identified that vehicle as a silver Buick.
Davis said no charges had been filed against anyone Monday as police tried to sort out what happened.
Investigators wanted to talk to the accused robbers for their version of events before filing charges, and had not been able to do so by Monday afternoon, he said.