SOUTH GLENDALE — A 17-year-old Los Angeles boy was stabbed in the back Saturday after a group of taggers confronted him about his gang affiliation, police said.
Police found the boy about 10 p.m. Saturday at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, where he was treated for the non-life threatening stab wound, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
The boy, whose name wasn't released because he is a minor, was visiting his girlfriend in Glendale when he was approached by a group writing graffiti on a wall behind Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits on East Colorado Street, Lorenz said.
The group reportedly challenged the boy — a self-described gang member on probation — on his gang affiliation to determine whether he belonged to a tagging crew and why he was in the area.
Since gangs often claim jurisdiction over certain neighborhoods, it is not uncommon for them to question the motives of other gang members who are visiting an area, Lorenz said.
He told the group that he didn't belong to a tagging crew, and then a fight ensued. At some point during the brawl, the boy was stabbed once in the back, Lorenz said.
It was the third reported stabbing so far this year, although they were not all gang related.
Gang detectives were investigating the stabbing on Saturday and trying to determine whether the gang claims Glendale as their base of operations, Lorenz said, adding that gangs often claim areas with graffiti.
Rival gang members who enter their area or scribble over their graffiti are considered a threat.
"That's a challenge to another gang," Lorenz said.
He said crews devoted to spray painting graffiti were no different than any other street gang.
"They use violence to defend their criminal actions," Lorenz said.