PORTLAND -- Prosecutors say a group of street kids were armed with knives, brass knuckles and a skateboard when they attacked a food cart operator in downtown Portland Monday.
The fight broke out just before 4 p.m., near a food cart located on SW Stark Street, between 2nd and 3rd avenues. Six people arrested Monday, and they appeared in court Tuesday afternoon.
The victim, 31-year-old Amir Amani, operates the food cart "Persian Plate.” He told police he was upset with this group of people after a neighboring food cart had a gas line cut earlier in the day. He was not seriously hurt.
A worker at the food cart told KGW "several street kids" harassed him and he stood up for himself. Other cart employees said some of the suspects had been trying to steal tip jars.
Other area food cart owners said the group had previously tried to break into some of their businesses.
"They say to my customers 'Give me a dollar, I'm going to squirt you with a bloody needle,'" Brooke Howes of "Built to Grill" said. "And that's real great for business, makes you want to eat doesn't it?"
”It’s intimidation and extortion to some extent," said Brett Burmeister of Food Carts Portland, "but what are you going to do about it?”
“I did nothing wrong, I didn’t instigate anything,” suspect Zachary Lloyd said, claiming the group was trying to defend itself against the owner, who was armed with a baton. ”All we were trying to do was diffuse a situation, calm everybody down so we could all go about our day.”
Witnesses said some of the people in the fight were armed with weapons.
"Like a big army of them were watching us with their knives," said one vendor. Officers said a pocket knife was recovered from the scene.
In all, police arrested six people; 18-year-old Tatiana Dawn Gutierrez, 21-year-old Mathew Allen Juniper, 21-year-old James Paine, 23-year-old Matthew Koontz, 25-year-old Samuel Gene Hambrick and 19-year-old Zachary Lee Lloyd. Charges may include assault, menacing, harassment, and disorderly conduct.
KGW Reporters Mike Benner and Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report