Man ‘gutted’ at baptism party

A child’s baptism in an unincorporated area turned bloody after a guest was nearly stabbed to death in what prosecutors are calling a “depraved” crime.

Victor Vallegas, a 24-year-old Half Moon Bay man and alleged Sureño gang member arrested in the attack, appeared in a Redwood City courtroom Monday. He was appointed a public defender and denied bail. Vallegas is expected to enter a plea to the attempted murder charge and gang allegations June 16.

San Mateo County sheriff’s Lt. Marc Alcantara said deputies were called to the baptism party, located at a ranch the 11800 block of San Mateo Avenue, about 11 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told investigators that the victim, a 24-year-old dayworker, was enjoying the party with a friend when he was suddenly pushed from behind and then punched in the face by an unknown person, authorities said.

Vallegas then allegedly stepped forward and began stabbing the man — a former high school classmate — in the stomach and armpit. Prosecutors say Vallegas’ girlfriend jumped on the victim’s back while he was being stabbed and knocked him to the ground, where he was punched and kicked.

Partygoers said Vallegas and his six companions then sped off in a black Chevrolet Suburban, according to investigators.

Moments after the Sheriff’s Office broadcast the vehicle description, the group was arrested by Half Moon Bay police, Alcantara said.

“All seven occupants were dressed in blue clothing, which is a color associated with the Sureño gang,” he said. Alcantara said the victim does not appear to be a gang member.

The attack victim is recovering at Stanford Medical Center after doctors removed 8 feet of his intestines, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

“Apparently he truly gutted this man,” Wagstaffe said. “It’s depraved conduct.”

Vallegas’ girlfriend was not arrested, as officers did not know her involvement at the time the car was pulled over, Wagstaffe said. Prosecutors are reviewing the case and may charge the young woman as well, he said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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