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Fight outside child's birthday party leaves one with head injury

WILLMAR--A fight last week outside of a Willmar child's birthday party left one person with a serious brain bleed. Two people are now facing assault and riot charges for their involvement in the scuffle. Juan Jose Guerrero Jr., 21, and Anthony Co...

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WILLMAR-A fight last week outside of a Willmar child's birthday party left one person with a serious brain bleed.

 

Two people are now facing assault and riot charges for their involvement in the scuffle.

 

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Juan Jose Guerrero Jr., 21, and Anthony Contreras, 17, both of St. Cloud, have each been charged in Kandiyohi County District Court with two felony counts of second-degree assault and one felony charge for rioting with a dangerous weapon.

 

Contreras was charged as a juvenile. Felony court proceedings against 16- and 17-year-old juveniles are public.

 

According to court documents, the tension started when a group of men pulled up to a Willmar home in a gray Impala around 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2. They approached someone at the party and asked him if a man, identified in the complaint as "Ryan," was currently at the residence.

 

They said "Ryan" was an old classmate of theirs. So "Ryan" came out of the home and spoke with the men.

 

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The initial male witness could tell right then that the men in the Impala were looking for a fight, he told law enforcement later. He said their postures and tone of voice showed it.

 

So he reportedly told everyone at the scene to calm down, because it was just a child's birthday party.

 

But the complaint alleges Guerrero ran over to "Ryan" and punched him in the head. That was the start of the scuffle.

 

At one point, Guerrero ran toward a pickup and grabbed a receiver hitch with a ball hitch attached. The witness backed away and yelled at others to warn them of the weapon.

 

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The criminal charges allege Guerrero struck another man in the right side of his head with the hitch. That man immediately fell to the ground, but people continued to kick and assault him.

 

He was initially transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, but later transferred to St. Cloud Hospital with a serious brain bleed.

 

Another witness told law enforcement that Contreras used a wooden dowel to strike another man several times in the head during the fight. That man landed on the ground, and was continually hit and kicked, the criminal complaint states.

 

When someone at the scene tried to intervene, Contreras allegedly struck them with the club, the complaint states.

 

Police arrived at the scene but were directed to the gray Impala in which the men had arrived. Authorities stopped the vehicle. Contreras and Guerrero were both inside.

 

Contreras later admitted to a Willmar police officer that he had hit some people during the fight, but said he escaped injury. A blood alcohol test indicated he had a blood alcohol level of 0.037 percent.

 

Police collected video and photographs taken by others during the fight that appear to confirm the version of events presented by witnesses.

 

Contreras and Guerrero made their first appearances Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Contreras has his next hearing scheduled for Sept. 13. Guerrero will appear Sept. 19.

Related Topics: CRIME
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