Chico Police arrested an accused gang member from Vina in connection with a stabbing Thursday night at the Chico Mall.
Fernando Palomares, 20, was taken into custody by an off-duty Parks Officer who witnessed the attack Thursday night around 5:30 p.m.
More than a dozen Chico Police vehicles raced to the Chico Mall Thursday evening in response to a stabbing that happened right in front of the mall's main entrance off East 20th Street.
When officers arrived they determined there had been a gang confrontation between members of rival gangs the Nortenos and the Surenos.
Chico Police Sergeant Greg Keeney said a 15-year-old member of one gang was stabbed several times in the back. The teen ran into the Forever 21 store, apparently trying to get away from the fight outside.
Customers and staff spotted the stabbing victim and called 911. Keeney said the victim suffered serious injuries and was taken to Enloe Medical Center where he was listed in serious condition.
Keeney said they are still trying to determine what set off the violence. It appears members of one gang were outside the mall as members of the other gang came out the exit between JCPenney and Forever 21.
Keeney said it was a sobering reminder that gang violence has spread to all parts of Chico, noting that this location is about as public as you can get.
Mall customers were shocked to learn about the fight that had happened minutes earlier.
Dorinda Hunsaker of Paradise said she and her teenage son and daughter saw the ambulance as they entered the mall, but had no idea what had happened. Hunsaker said the incident would make her more cautious, especially because the fight happened before dark, in a place where security officers are on site.