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2 charged in connection with fight

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

Riot and disorderly conduct charges have been filed against two 19-year-old Rochester men stemming from what authorities describe as a gang-related fight in a southeast city parking lot Wednesday night.

Thomas Tankhamvang, 1521 11th Ave. N.E., and Sophath Kruoch, 2036 42nd St. N.W., each are charged with one count of third-degree riot, a gross misdemeanor; misdemeanor minor consumption and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. In addition, Tankhamvang is charged with underage drinking and driving, a misdemeanor.

Both were arraigned in Olmsted District Court about noon Thursday. Judge Robert Birnbaum set bail at $3,000 without any conditions or $1,000 with conditions attached. Both return to court May 28.

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According to the criminal complaints, both men are members of a street gang called ABZ. Police have heard rumblings about a possible fight between members of that gang and the Baby Blue Crips, and took emergency measures outside the front door of Century High School on Tuesday afternoon after getting information of a possible fight involving weapons. That fight did not occur, but students were not allowed to exit the building through the front doors.

The complaint said police heard on Monday that a gang fight between the two groups was likely to occur within the next several days. The fight was said to be in response to some recent incidents at Century High School. No information was available about those incidents.

Officers were called about a gang fight about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of 1958 8 1/2 St. S.E. Police were told several groups were fighting and that weapons were possibly involved.

When officers arrived, they saw several young men scrambling about the lot and a small group of young men on a grassy area that ran towards a vehicle. The complaint said at least two officers drew their guns. One officer ordered the subjects remaining at the scene to the ground at gun point. No weapons were found. Officers were told one of the people who fled in the car had a gun. One of the witnesses told officers that one of the suspects had a gun under his sweatshirt.

A 16-year-old boy at the scene told police he was a member of the Baby Blue Crips and that they are in conflict with the ABZ gang. The complaint said the conflict stems from rumors allegedly started by ABZ that the Baby Blues are "snitches."

The victim said he was involved in recent confrontations at Century High School. He said he was home Wednesday night and anticipated the ABZs would show up at his apartment. He asked some of his "hommies" to be at the apartment in case things went bad. "Hommies" are members of his gang.

The victim told officers that a group of four or five ABZ members showed up, they talked for a while and the conversation went bad and they "roughed him up." He said four of them "rushed him" and threw punches at him.

Officers stopped the fleeing car and the five occupants were called out of the car at gun point. In addition to Kruoch and Tankhamvang, the occupants included three 16-year-old boys.

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The complaint said Kruoch was a passenger in the vehicle and Tankhamvang was the driver. Officers smelled alcohol on their breath. The complaint said Kruoch had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17 and Tankhamvang had a BAC of 0.06.

On Wednesday, police said the three 16-year-olds also were expected to be charged with third-degree riot charges and disorderly conduct. However, under state law information about juveniles charged with misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges is not public.

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