A 17-year-old was stabbed Wednesday when a fight with four other teenagers escalated during the lunchtime rush at Burger King on Kettleman Lane, police said.
Multiple students from Lodi Middle School and Tokay High School witnessed the event, as they had been released early from school due to the fact that Wednesday was one of the school district's scheduled "Common Planning" days.
At approximately 12:40 p.m., Lodi police and firefighters responded to the Burger King at 616 W. Kettleman Lane for a possible stabbing.
A 17-year old male was stabbed Multiple times, according to Cpl. Tim Fritz; once in the back of the neck, on the victim's left arm and on the right side of his chest.
Allegedly, the victim initially got into a fight with four other teenagers — all of whom are believed to be Norteño gang affiliates — when they asked him about his gang affiliation, Fritz said.
Fritz said that the fist-fight took a turn for the worse when one of the four suspects pulled out a knife and began attacking the victim.
According to witnesses, the victim proceeded to head to the restroom before police and paramedics arrived.
Police said the 17-year-old was transported to Lodi Memorial Hospital to be treated for his wounds. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Fritz said.
Four suspects were arrested in the gang-related stabbing: a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, whose names have been withheld because they are minors, and two 18-year-olds.
The 18-year-olds, Sandeep Kumar and James Asencio, both of Lodi, have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, according to Fritz. They also face charges of gang enhancement and participating in a gang-related crime, he said.
The knife used in the stabbing has not yet been recovered, Fritz said.
According to the manager of the Burger King, who asked not to be named because of corporate policy, the violence was unlike anything she or any of her co-workers had ever seen.
"We are doing fine now," she said. "But what we saw today? It has never been this bad."
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at email@example.com.