Arrests made in gang shootings

Police have arrested a known gang member they believe fired at groups of rival gang members in two separate shootings last month.

Toby Alexander Martinez, 22, is held on more than $13 million bail in the Jackson County Jail on six counts each of attempted murder and attempted first-degree assault, as well as charges of second-degree assault, attempt to elude and various warrants stemming from attempts to elude police, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

Additionally, a 16-year-old believed to be involved in the shooting is also held in the Jackson County Community Justice Juvenile Center on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree theft, and possession and distribution of a controlled substance.

"Hopefully these arrests will calm things back down," said. Lt. Mike Budreau. "It sends a significant statement to the gang population out there."

Martinez was the alleged victim in a gang shooting last year, but wasn't injured.

Medford police said the first of two shootings Martinez was involved in took place at about 5 p.m. March 8 in the 1500 block of Bryant Street. Witnesses reported a Honda sedan occupied by five or six young Latino men dressed in red clothing, pulled up near a home. The men, believed to be part of the Norteños gang, confronted several other Latino males — believed to be part of the rival Sureños gang, police said. Investigators said Martinez fired a .22-caliber handgun at the group. No one was hit, but the group scattered and fled.

At 1 a.m. the next day, five Sureños gang members were walking on Chestnut Street when a red Saturn Vue pulled up alongside them, police said. Some of the same Norteños from the earlier shooting were inside. Martinez allegedly fired six or seven times into the group, striking one person in the arm. The victim did not seek medical treatment for the injury, police said. The type of gun used in the second shooting is not known.

Investigators from Medford police and the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement — MADGE — team tracked the 16-year-old to an apartment in the 2500 block of Table Rock Road. During a search of his home March 15, detectives found a WASR 7.62 assault rifle, reported stolen in Washington County, Ore. Three additional handguns and two types of painkillers he didn't have prescriptions for also were found. He was arrested and lodged at the Jackson County Community Justice Juvenile Center.

By this time, police had identified Martinez as the shooter. On the afternoon of March 15, police tried to stop a black Mercedes sedan that he was driving near Bursell Road and Beall Lane. He sped away and officers couldn't catch him.

"Since then we think (he'd) been trying to lay low to avoid police detection," Budreau said.

On Wednesday, officers from Medford police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department tracked Martinez to a home in the 5800 block of Table Rock Road. Martinez ran when police saw him, but was arrested after a short foot pursuit.

— Ryan Pfeil


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