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Two men injured in nightime knife attack at Healdsburg High School

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 7:32 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.

Two men were stabbed Tuesday night at Healdsburg High School in what officials are calling a rare incident of gang violence in the community.

“We are not immune. We wish we were,” said City Councilman Gary Plass, a retired Healdsburg Police sergeant. “It does raise its ugly head occasionally.”

He said every city in Sonoma County has some type of gang problem. ”I think ours is very small compared to some,” he said.

The wounded men said they had just finished playing soccer on the school’s tennis courts at about 8:20 p.m. when they were ambushed by men yelling gang slogans, police said.

The men, both 25, are Healdsburg residents. Police didn’t identify them, citing concerns for their safety.

Both were treated and released. One was stabbed twice and the other three times. They got themselves to Healdsburg District Hospital, which is just blocks from the high school.

Healdsburg Police Lt. Matt Jenkins said officers found a kitchen paring knife near the tennis courts. Also, a rock had been thrown in the attack.

Jenkins said the wounded men weren’t cooperating fully and officers have little to go on. Descriptions of the attackers are very vague and officers are hoping to locate independent witnesses.

Police officials concurred Wednesday that gang-related violence is rare in Healdsburg, a town most notable as a wine-country tourist draw.

“We typically see it in terms of tagging and graffiti,” said Police Chief Kevin Burke. “Occasionally we get episodes of violence like this, but ... this is a little unusual for us.”

“The campus hasn’t been a source of any particular problem for us. It’s a pretty safe location and the fact it was there is pretty unusual,” Burke said.

New gang graffiti has showed up in the last few days in town but there was no specific gang activity reported at all in April, said Jenkins.

In March there was some gang tagging and in February there was a gang-related battery case, said Jenkins.

School officials agreed with Burke’s assessment. “We are one of the most safe campuses I’m aware of anywhere,” said Healdsburg Schools Superintendent Jeff Harding. “We don’t see these kind of incidents among the student body during school time.” The tennis courts are open for public use outside school hours.

Police learned of the attack at about 9:10 p.m. after the two went to the hospital. The men, who told police they aren’t associated with gangs, said they’d been playing soccer with friends and were just leaving when they were jumped from behind.

The attackers were last seen running from the school, heading east on Monte Vista Avenue toward University Street.

Police officials asked anyone with information to contact officers at (707) 431-3377.

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