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Arrests made in two violent assault cases

Sheriff’s detectives have arrested five individuals relating to two separate violent assault cases that took place recently in the Greater Fallbrook area.

Three younger men attack trio of older men

In what Sheriff’s Detective Jim Pucillo calls a “heinous” crime, three Fallbrook men have been arrested for assaulting a trio of older men on the evening of November 21 at a residence in the 400 block of Clemmens Lane.

Arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, felony battery and misdemeanor battery were Medardo Enriquez, 28; Dominique Pryor, 22; and Ben Alcantar, 18, all of Fallbrook.

Pucillo said Enriquez, Pryor and Alcantar went to the residence to retrieve some personal items belonging to Enriquez, who had previously resided there.

“He got into an argument with one of the tenants there and a confrontation ensued,” explained Pucillo. “It escalated into a physical confrontation.”

The three visitors assaulted three Caucasian men at the home, who ranged in age from 45 to 58 years old. The victims suffered varying levels of injuries.

“The 58-year-old victim was battered, pushed around and punched,” said Pucillo. “The 56-year-old got pummeled repeatedly by the three suspects and the 45-year-old sustained the most serious injuries.”

Pucillo described the attacks as “brutal,” saying the 45-year-old victim suffered life-threatening injuries that included multiple broken ribs, lung damage, lacerations, a skull fracture and a severely fractured nose that required reconstructive surgery.

“He was on life support for several days and ended up being in the hospital for about two weeks,” noted Pucillo. “They could have killed that man; doctors saved his life.”

Based on the details provided by the victims and witnesses, the three suspects were identified through photo line-ups and are now in custody.

Pucillo said all three of the attackers have criminal histories.

While Enriquez had an outstanding warrant for a non-violet crime – vandalism – Pryor and Alcantar are involved in cases of violence.

“Pryor and Alcantar have other cases pending against them; they’ve been involved in other assault cases,” said Pucillo.

Bail for Enriquez has been set at $530,000.

Pryor’s bail is set at $545,000 and he has at least one other assault with a deadly weapon charge pending in a separate case.

Alcantar has bail set at $680,000 with at least two other charges of assault with a deadly weapon and additional felonies in a separate case.

Preliminary hearings for the three are scheduled to take place in January.

Pucillo said the house the crime took place at is “not a stranger to law enforcement.”

“There have been numerous arrests at that residence and on that property,” he said.

Pucillo said the three men who were assaulted all have criminal histories as well.

While the attackers were Latino and African-American and the victims were Caucasian, Pucillo said the attack was not racially motivated, although he did disclose that one of the attackers has a known gang affiliation.

“It was over [Enriquez’s] property; he had a backpack with personal papers he was trying to retrieve,” said Pucillo. “The victims maintained that they didn’t have it.”

The violence of this particular crime concerns Pucillo.

“There are people out there who almost enjoy victimizing people and hurting people,” he said. “They like to prey on people and show a pattern of disregard for people’s welfare.”

Man selling car gets throat slit

A 39-year-old Latino man from Vista suffered severe injuries, including having his throat slit, when he met with two Latino juveniles, ages 16 and 17, from Oceanside who said they were interested in purchasing the five-year-old Honda Civic he had for sale.

The man agreed to meet with the youth on October 22 at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the 31000 block of Via Puerta Del Sol, off North River Road in Bonsall.

The youth asked to go for a test drive in the Honda with the man, during which time one of the youths pulled out a knife and slit the man’s throat while he was driving.

“These kids had planned in advance to steal the vehicle,” said Detective Pucillo. “They had planned to carjack the vehicle and leave the owner behind.”

When the youth slit the vehicle owner’s throat, the owner panicked.

“The driver ended up driving up a hill and almost over a cliff,” said Pucillo. “He stopped the vehicle at the edge of a cliff just before a 150-foot fall.”

After the owner brought the vehicle to a stop, he tried to wrestle the knife away from the youth who had attacked him.

“The victim said he was fighting for his life,” explained Pucillo.

The other youth had exited the car while the vehicle’s owner and the other juvenile were fighting over the weapon.

“The other kid had a knife as well and tried to stab [the vehicle owner] while the two were fighting, but he couldn’t reach him,” said Pucillo. “The owner of the vehicle did end up gaining control of the knife long enough to stab the one youth in the neck.”

Shortly after that, both youth fled the scene on foot.

“They left the [owner] there; the crime scene was a bloody mess,” said Pucillo.

The owner, frightened that the youth would return, drove the vehicle about three miles, back to his home.

Upon his arrival, relatives called paramedics. The victim was taken to Palomar Hospital, where he was hospitalized for about a week.

“This man could very easily have bled to death,” said Pucillo.

The juvenile who was injured in the incident sought treatment at Tri City Hospital.

Due to the type of injury sustained, hospital representatives contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which led to an investigation and arrest.

The second youth was found after officers discovered a personal belonging he left behind in the victim’s vehicle.

Both juveniles confessed to the crime after being questioned by officers.

The juveniles, whose names cannot be printed due to their age, were arrested November 6 on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit a crime.

They are being housed at Juvenile Hall until their preliminary hearing in January.

One is a student of Oceanside High School and the other of Carlsbad High School.

Pucillo said in the course of the investigation that it did not appear that either youth had gang affiliations.

When asked how individuals can protect themselves against a crime of this nature, Pucillo said, “This is a very rare circumstance. One suggestion I have is to conduct business like this in a really public area and to bring someone else with you. [The victim] placed himself in a position where it was two against one.”

Fallbrook crime analysis numbers from ARJIS/CASS show that in 2006 there were 282 assault crime cases, escalating to 355 in 2007.

As of November 30, 2008, the first 11 months of this year reflected 276 crimes of assault.

If December continues at the same pace, it is estimated assaults for 2008 may total just over three hundred.

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