Three Lodi teens were arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun and making gang threats at women who were holding a car wash Thursday for a mother who died after childbirth.
It was the latest in a number of gang-related incidents in which Surenos — who wear blue — appear to be targeting people wearing red, even if there's no indication that the victims are rival Nortenos.
In Thursday's incident, one of the women holding a car wash sign happened to be wearing a red shirt.
The victims were standing at the corner of Stockton and Pine streets, holding signs directing people to a car wash down the street at Lodi Adopt-A-Child, said Lodi Police Sgt. Fernando Martinez.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m. a group of four males approached the women and began yelling gang slogans. The women weren't familiar with most of the phrases and words used, but police recognized them.
The young men asked the women why they were in the neighborhood, and they explained that they were there for the car wash, Martinez said.
The young men told the women, "You shouldn't be here," Martinez said. Then one of the suspects pulled a gun out of his waistband or pocket, brandishing it but not pointing it directly at the women. One of the suspects then said, "Who wants to be first?"
The women were able to walk away unharmed, returning to the car wash.
Officers soon spread out through the area, while others talked to the victims and got descriptions of the suspects.
Police found a group of people at nearby Hale Park, several of whom matched the descriptions.
They arrested Carlos Vizcaino and Santos Ayon, both 18 and of Lodi, as well as a 16-year-old Lodi boy. All were arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats.
Martinez said all three are believed to be Sureno gang members. Vizcaino's booking photo shows common Sureno gang tattoos — "VMS" and "XIII" — over both eyebrows.
Officers scoured the park for a gun, worrying that a child could find it, but found no weapons, Martinez said.
The car wash, meanwhile, was moved to another area of town. It was being held to help pay for the funeral of a 29-year-old Lodi woman who died shortly after giving birth to her fourth child.
Thursday's incident was the latest in a number of shootings and stabbings that police have said appear to target people wearing red. Nobody has been killed, but several people have been hospitalized.
Martinez said more officers are patrolling the area. Detectives have also been focusing on known gang members, hang-outs and following leads.
At the time of Thursday's brandishing, gang detectives were tracking down leads in the shooting of a man who wore a red belt. They ultimately arrested two suspected teenage gang members for attempted murder.