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Third man charged in violent fight outside birthday party

WILLMAR--Authorities say video footage and a wallet link a third man to a violent Sept. 3 fight outside a Willmar child's birthday party that left one man with a serious brain bleed. Stanley Gutierrez, 25, was charged Monday in Kandiyohi County D...

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WILLMAR-Authorities say video footage and a wallet link a third man to a violent Sept. 3 fight outside a Willmar child's birthday party that left one man with a serious brain bleed.

Stanley Gutierrez, 25, was charged Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court with second-degree assault and second-degree riot with a dangerous weapon, both felonies, as well as gross misdemeanor fifth-degree assault.

Gutierrez is the third person to be charged related to the fight.

Juan Jose Guerrero Jr., 21, and Anthony Contreras, 17, were each charged Sept. 6 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.

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The charges against Gutierrez were not filed until Sept. 20. According to the criminal complaint on the charges, a wallet containing Gutierrez's ID was found in a car stopped by authorities after the fight. Gutierrez was not inside the vehicle.

However, video footage taken by bystanders at the scene appears to show Gutierrez at the scene and involved in the fight.

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.

The initial male witness believed the men in the Impala were looking for a fight. He later told police their postures and tones of voice showed it.

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.

Video footage reportedly showed Gutierrez repeatedly punching a man in the head. Then, others reportedly joined in on the assault of that victim, including Contreras.

Contreras allegedly used a wooden dowel to strike that 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 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.

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Gutierrez is next set to appear Oct. 17 in Kandiyohi County District Court. Guerrero's next hearing is set for Nov. 7.

The prosecution in Contreras's case has filed a petition to move his case to adult court. A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 3 for that issue.

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