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stabbing last sunday not gang related

October 15, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

"They are like a virus. They will literally try to take over."

?Street Crimes Unit Officer

Todd Dunkle

HAGERSTOWN


pepperb@herald-mail.com

A stabbing on Berner Avenue last weekend in Hagerstown's West End was "not a result of an MS-13 (gang) incident," Hagerstown Police Department Lt. Michael King said Friday.

A 22-year-old man was stabbed in the left thigh Oct. 9 at about 11:15 p.m. during a fight in the unit block of Berner Avenue, off Washington Street, in Hagerstown, police have said. The man's attacker was described only as a Hispanic male, police have said.

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The man whom police believe stabbed the 22-year-old is an MS-13 gang member, however, said Street Crimes Unit Officer Todd Dunkle. Dunkle is western region director for MARGIN, Mid-Atlantic Region Gang Investigators Network.

The stabbing remains under investigation, King, the department's investigative services commander, said Friday.

At this point in the investigation, "there's nothing indicating" the stabbing was gang related, he said.

MS-13, a violent gang, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, consists primarily of El Salvadoran natives, who have strong ties to Virginia cities, most notably to Fairfax, Dunkle said.

He said there are between 15,000 and 20,000 MS-13 gang members in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone, but gang members are also active in parts of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle and in Cumberland, Md.

King said police are aware that the gang is trying to push north and east, but added that there are only a "handful" of known members in Hagerstown.

"It's not a big contingency like everybody's trying to say," he said.

Dunkle said the MS-13 members who are in Hagerstown are "maintaining a fairly low profile."

He said their low profile may be the result of not having enough members to "just run amuck. They are like a virus. They will literally try to take over."

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