Police identify potential witness, charge three in Silver Spring assault -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2012.

Montgomery County police have identified and spoken to a woman who may be a witness to the assault of a Rockville man following a dispute over beer at a Nov. 4 party in Silver Spring, in which three men have been charged.

No further information about the woman was available as of Tuesday afternoon because the investigation is ongoing, said Officer Rebecca Innocenti, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman.

The victim, 22, and a group of people he did not know became involved in a dispute over the victim’s beer during a party, according to a press release from police. A group of people struck the victim on the head and in the face repeatedly with broken glass bottles, the release said.

According to court documents, police responded to the 1440 block of Silo Drive in Silver Spring at about 1:20 a.m. and found a victim suffering from multiple wounds to the head, face and hands.

Investigators discovered that the victim had been standing in the kitchen during the party, when two people approached the refrigerator and attempted to take a beer. The victim, who had purchased the beer, told them they couldn’t have any, court documents said.

A fight broke out, and six or seven people surrounded the victim, broke bottles over his head and punched him all over his body, cutting and stabbing him with pieces of the broken bottle, the court documents state. One of the men arrested also punched the victim’s cousin when he came to his aid, giving him a black eye, documents said.

The victim spent two days in Suburban Hospital with serious injuries, court documents said.

On Nov. 8, police arrested Andres Jose Cortez, 20, of the 3300 block of Hewitt Avenue in Silver Spring, and charged him with attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault. They also arrested Kevin Reynold Valdez, 19, of the 14000 block of Cove Lane in Rockville, and charged him with first-degree assault and conspiracy. One witness identified Valdez as the person who started the fight, documents said.

Cortez has also been charged with first-degree assault and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime during a Sept. 29 incident. While executing a search warrant at Cortez’s residence, police said they found an unregistered handgun and filed several charges against him related to firearm possession.

On Nov. 14, police charged Cristian Javier Ayala, 17, of the 2600 block of Terrapin Road in Silver Spring, with one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of obstructing and hindering at least three SWAT officers, court documents said.

Ayala has a criminal history, including theft, trespassing burglary and assault on a police officer, the documents said.

Cortez, Ayala and Valdez are all members of the “Little R” or “La Raza” criminal street gang, court documents state. The Wheaton Investigative Section has been investigating “Little R” for a series of crimes over the past several years, and have identified multiple people as members or associates of the gang in the area through arrests, interviews and search warrants, according to Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks.

Preliminary hearings have been scheduled for Cortez and Valdez on Dec. 7 and for Ayala on Nov. 30. Cortez is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond; Valdez is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond and Ayala is being held in lieu of a $30,000 bond.

ewaibel@gazette.net