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Brothers will face charges for drive-by

An intense investigation by police agencies across the Rogue Valley led to the arrest of two Talent brothers on attempted murder charges stemming from a drive-by shooting Monday night near South Medford High School.

Gerardo Reyes, 20, and German Reyes Real, 18, were arrested roughly 24 hours after the shooting on Monroe Street near J Street was reported. Each faces six charges of attempted murder and remains in the Jackson County Jail on $6 million bail.

"We're pleased that this was put to rest quickly and no one got hurt," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.

Medford and Jackson County Sheriff's Department detectives, as well as officers assigned to Medford's gang and street drug unit, worked through Tuesday to identify and track down the suspects, questioning people who knew bits about the drive-by shooting, which police said was gang related.

"It was a marathon of interviews and knocking on doors," Doney said.

Investigators found Gerardo Reyes sitting in a car in a parking lot at the Medford YMCA, at 522 W. Sixth St. at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday and arrested him.

Another person in the car with him was questioned and released, Doney said.

Then, at about 11:20 p.m., investigators, the Medford SWAT team, and Talent and Phoenix police went to serve a search warrant at space 51 of Shady Brook Mobile Home Park, 236 Talent Ave., Doney said.

Officers had ordered everyone out of the home where Reyes family members live, when police working along the perimeter of the park saw German Reyes Real park a tan sedan on Talent Avenue and walk into the neighborhood. He was arrested and the car, a 1992 Mercury Marquis suspected of being used in the shooting, was seized as evidence, Doney said.

Doney said the two arrested men lived at the Talent home with their parents and other family members, but had also lived in Southern California.

Although police declined to confirm who among the suspects and victims in the Monday night shooting were linked to gangs, Doney said several individuals involved in the case are gang members or associates.

Gang-related slurs were exchanged in the clash Monday, Doney said. A car driving west on Monroe Street near J Street was confronted by a passing sedan. A young man leaned out the passenger side window of the sedan and fired numerous shots at the other vehicle, which had four teenage girls and at least two young men inside, police said.

Both Norteños and Sureños, two Hispanic gangs with roots in the California prison system, are active here, police have said. Doney estimates that about three dozen teens and young adults across the Rogue Valley are involved in gang activity currently. Some loudly announce their gang affiliation, while others don't admit membership, but hang out with known gang members, appear with them in photos and accompany them to parties, fights and other gang activities, he said.

"A lot of these parents don't know what their kids are doing and they are getting involved in activity that could follow them around for the rest of their life," Doney said.

Police also have identified older gang members who appear to have dropped out of the gang lifestyle, he said.

"In a community this size we periodically have documented big-city gangsters who come through visiting or stay for awhile," Doney said. "They create business for us; we deal with it and then they move on."

For a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, skinheads and white gangs such as the White Aryan Resistance surged on to the scene here, he said.

In the 1990s, a gang called Pomona Sur Locotes became a concern for Medford police as families from Pomona, Calif., moved here to escape gang problems, but gang-affiliated teens kept up their troublemaking behavior.

"They were suddenly big fish in a little pond and they continued the behavior and got in trouble again," Doney said.

Aggressive enforcement sent some of those with gang ties to prison, while others returned to California, he said. A few made a clean break, he said.

With two gangs, Norteños and Sureños, currently active, the potential for dangerous rivalry is present, Doney said.

The two gangs have divided California, with the Norteños staking their claim on Northern California, and the Sureños holding everything south of Bakersfield, Calif., police said. They began to creep into Oregon more than a decade ago.

Activity has surged here since late last year. Police noted an increase first in graffiti, then in fist fights. The frequency and violence of the assaults increased in December, although only some of the attacks were reported, Doney said. A street fight in Medford on New Year's Day and stabbing at a New Year's Eve party in White City further upped the ante.

Three stabbings reported over three weeks during the holidays targeted Sureños, said Mike Jackson, a school resource officer at South Medford High School.

"We were concerned that it could escalate to a shooting and a death," Doney said.

Police had hoped that gang members visiting from out of the area had left after the holidays and that the violence might dissipate.

"By no means is gang activity overwhelming," Doney said. "But as a community we need to recognize the need to deal with it before it gets worse."

Police and the courts will tackle the problem, but law enforcement is just one component, he said.

Medford School District works closely with police, and district and department officials plan to attend a school safety conference in Salem next week, said Doug Jantzi, the district's director of secondary education.

Police are adopting a safety curriculum tailored to students across the district. Called Tech Smarts, it focuses on online safety, but also deals with the danger of gangs, Doney said.

Rogue Valley Youth for Christ encourages Christians to get involved in kids' lives to prevent them from falling prey to gangs, and Kids Unlimited also offers programs.

"Isolated incidents like this can overshadow the fact that we live in a great place," Doney said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

Brothers will face charges for drive-by