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Gang member charged with assault, ethnic intimidation

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
A Salisbury teen with a known gang affiliation was jailed Thursday after police accused him of joining a group of other teens in beating up a man walking through their neighborhood because he is white.
And police are investigating a similar but unrelated assault in another Salisbury neighborhood that also may be gang-related.
Marlon Jermaine “Murda” Barber, 19, of 833 E. Lafayette St., was charged Thursday with ethnic intimidation and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Salisbury Police Deputy Chief Steve Whitley said the attack occurred Sunday night. The Post is not identifying the victim because other suspects remain free and because of the nature of the crime.
The man was walking in the 300 block of Lafayette, in the Park Avenue neighborhood, around 10 p.m. Sunday when a group of teenagers approached him, Whitley said.
The teens, who were black, asked the man, who is white, what he was doing in that neighborhood. Whitley added the teens thought the man was “stirring up trouble.”
The man, who has lived in the east Salisbury neighborhood for years, exchanged words, including racial slurs, with the teens, and the teens then jumped him. The victim said one of the teens pistol-whipped him. A neighbor yelled that police were on the way, and the teens dispersed.
The victim was treated at Rowan Regional Medical Center and released.
The teens were wearing colors that indicate they were members of the Bloods gang. Salisbury Police Department’s gang unit continues to investigate the case.
On Wednesday afternoon, around 3, a Hispanic man was robbed while heading to a bus stop on West Horah Street. Whitley said a group of six or more teens began threatening the man, questioning why a person of his race was in their neighborhood and then robbed the man. The teens, who were black, may be part of a gang, Whitley said.
“We are looking into the possibility of this being a gang crime activity,” he said.
The victim in the second incident was not hurt. He also has lived in the neighborhood for years, Whitley said.
No arrests have been made in the Wednesday incident.
It is strictly coincidence that these similar but unrelated incidents happened within days of each other, Whitley said Friday.
Of gang-related crimes, Whitley said the reputation for violence is what gives the gang members legitimacy.
Whitley also dismissed the idea that the teens committed the crimes because they have nothing to do this summer.
“This is part of belonging to a criminal street gang. This is the stuff they do,” he said.
Whitley said combating gangs is a constant for law enforcement.
“We have really invested a huge amount of manpower working on this problem,” he said.
Barber remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $20,000 bond.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 866-639-5245 or the Police Departent at 638-5333.

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