West Medford resident Rachael Brand says violent crime in her neighborhood picks up in the summer but that it has escalated in the past month. There was a drive-by shooting on May 7, and on Thursday, a 24-year-old was attacked with a knife. - Bob Pennell

West Medford neighborhood rocked by violence again

A man in his early 20s kicked in the door of a home and rushed past two men to stab a 24-year-old man he'd been chasing minutes earlier Wednesday night, police reported.

Medford police believe the stabbing is gang-related, but said the victim is not affiliated with a gang and wasn't wearing clothes that could be mistaken for gang clothing. Investigators don't think the victim and his assailant knew each other and that the attack was random.

"This is a very egregious case," said Medford police Chief Tim George. "We're still very early into this thing."

Police declined to release the victim's name.

The victim first waved down a police officer near the corner of Withington and Plum streets at about 10 p.m. The victim said a Latino man in his early 20s had ridden up to him on a BMX bike and asked what gang he was in.

The victim, who is Hispanic and who was walking home from work near Dakota Avenue at the time, said he was not in a gang, but the other man pulled out a knife, threatened him, and rode off, police said.

After reporting the incident to the passing officer, the victim kept walking toward his home. Police started looking for a suspect. The officer heard a disturbance in the 500 block of Plum Street a few minutes later and went to investigate. The officer discovered the same victim who had approached him had just been stabbed but had fled.

Police soon learned the bicyclist had ridden up to the victim a second time, on Plum Street. The victim tried to run, but the suspect pursued him on his bike. Still far from home, the victim ran into a stranger's house in the 500 block of Plum Street and asked two men there for help.

The man with the knife arrived at the home and kicked in the door, despite residents' attempts to keep him out. The attacker forced his way in, ran past the two men and stabbed the 24-year-old in the living room.

The two residents pulled the suspect off and he ran. The victim fled to a home on Benson Street, where police were called.

He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center with stab wounds to his abdomen and hands, police said. He underwent surgery and remained at the hospital Thursday, officials said.

"He is expected to survive," George said.

Medford police are on the hunt for the suspect, whom they describe as between 20 and 24 years old, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing dark clothing and a blue bandana on his head.

It's the second time in three weeks a violent act has rocked the neighborhood. On May 7, 15-year-old Santiago Loveland-Flores allegedly fired three shots during an altercation near the intersection of Benson and Dakota streets. No one was hurt, but Loveland-Flores still is at large and wanted by police.

Rachael Brand, who has lived in the neighborhood for four years, was outside with her children when she heard the shots.

"I thought it was fireworks at first," Brand said, adding that she then heard one of the bullets hiss past on the street.

She said the area does see its fair share of criminal activity during the summer months, but that it's escalated recently.

"For two incidents to happen is really odd," she said. "We're really kind of shocked."

Police say they've stepped up patrols and investigators in the area.

"There's a larger police presence in that area because of what's occurred," George said. "We do have extensive folks out and have been for the last couple of weeks."

Investigators ask anyone with information about the stabbing or drive-by shooting to call Medford police at 541-770-4783.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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