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Girl, 15, on life support after fight in Temecula

Authorities say she was hurt in an altercation involving as many as 10 teens. No arrests have been made.

February 14, 2008|Victoria Kim | Times Staff Writer

A 15-year-old girl was critically injured Tuesday afternoon in a fight involving as many as 10 teenagers in Temecula, authorities said Wednesday.

Temecula police found the girl lying on the street unresponsive and without a pulse shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Deputy Herlinda Valenzuela of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Officers had gone to the intersection of Wabash and Cupeno lanes after getting a report of a fight in the residential neighborhood, she said.

Officials performed CPR on the teenager at the scene and took her to Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, where she was on life support Wednesday, authorities said.

"She's still alive as of now, and no arrests have been made in the incident," said sheriff's investigator Jerry Franchville.

Franchville said the girl had no visible injuries and it was unclear why she had stopped breathing. Officials were still investigating the cause of the fight, but it was not believed to be gang-related, he said.

Temecula Police Chief Jerry Williams said authorities suspected that the teenager fell and hit the pavement, hurting her head.

"She was struck, and she did fall to the ground," Williams said. "It's just one of those incidents where tempers flared, somebody got hit, and it turned into a much worse incident than anybody planned."

Some involved in the brawl fled to a nearby home; the victim's boyfriend stayed with her, Williams said.

One neighbor reached at her home Wednesday said she saw five or six teenagers being brought out at gunpoint from a Cupeno Lane home. The neighbor, who asked not to be named, said an adult female who lived in the home was also escorted out by police and handcuffed. A teenage girl and boy live at the home, she said.

The police "were acting like they were looking for somebody," she said. "Everybody heard the helicopter. Everything was roped off. We couldn't go anywhere."

Another neighbor, Jim Baumann, said the quality of life in the quiet residential neighborhood had been declining in recent years.

"I've lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, and it's really gone down the toilet," Baumann said.

Police detained and questioned several individuals involved in the fight, which is under investigation by homicide detectives because of the severity of the victim's injury, Valenzuela said.

Officials did not release the identity of the victim because she is a juvenile, but police and neighbors said she lived in the neighborhood.

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victoria.kim@latimes.com

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