8 men face charges in Medford gang fight

A Jackson County grand jury has returned a string of indictments in a fatal, gang-related fight in Medford last week, but no one has been charged yet with the murder of Marco Antonio Diaz.

The 24-year-old Diaz was beaten and stabbed Sept. 15 in a melee at a Beatty Street apartment between opposing groups with members who claim affiliations with Hispanic gangs rooted in the California prison system. He died of stab wounds several hours later at a local hospital.

Guibran Ramirez, 19, of the 600 block of Beatty Street, was indicted on first-, second- and third-degree assault charges for what police called a serious, but not fatal, attack on Diaz.

"We believe he assaulted (Diaz) with his hands and feet, but what killed Marco was the knife," Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said.

Investigators haven't released details on who wielded that knife.

The grand jury also indicted Sergio Meza, 18, of the 100 block of Dehague Street, Medford, on first- and second-degree assault charges for two other stabbings during the fight.

The incident broke out at about 8 p.m. Sept. 15 after a day of shouting and confrontations.

Police suspect that Meza stabbed 18-year-old Lucas Benjamin Molina, who was hospitalized with stab wounds to his abdomen before being arrested Sept. 17, and slashed at Ramirez, leaving him with a small cut.

Meza and a group of other young men suspected of being involved in the fight and a vandalism attack on a parked car the next night were indicted on charges of riot, disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief. The others facing those charges include Salvador Banuelos, 19, of Central Point; Juan Gonzalez-Marquez, 14, no address listed; and Zenaido Quinonez-Aispuro, of White City; Omar Quinonez-Aispuro, 24, of Minden, Nev.; Filiberto Cazares, 18, no address listed; and Ramon Guadalupe Rodriguez, 20, of Coos Bay.

Molina was charged with riot and disorderly conduct, related to his suspected role in the fight.

The riot charges carry a bail of $50,000 and the first-degree assault charges carry a bail of $500,000. Of these suspects, only Omar Quinonez-Aispuro has been released from jail, records show.

"The number in jail is helping to prevent further violence," Budreau said, adding that police are still alert to the possibility of retaliation for Diaz's death.

Diaz's funeral mass was Wednesday, shortly before prosecutors presented their case, and it was peaceful.

"There was no significant motive to harm the mourners, but now we worry that the victim's friends or family could seek vengeance," Budreau said.

Police remain on alert and are investigating all possible leads on gang activities in an effort to prevent what Budreau called "a perpetuation of the cycle of violence."

Still, he noted that more than a week had passed since Diaz's death without serious problems being reported.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

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