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Local

Two involved in gang fight, one charged in arson, police say

STERLING – Two Sterling men arrested Thursday are facing felony charges in connection with a recent fight and other gang-related activity in the west end of town, Sterling police said Thursday.

Matthew A. Perales, 23, was being held on $75,000 bond, charged with aggravated battery and mob action, both felonies.

Aaron R. Gonzales, 17, was being held on $25,000 bond, charged with mob action and misdemeanor aggravated assault. Gonzales also is charged with felony arson in connection with a car trunk that was set on fire Tuesday in the 1100 block of Dillon Avenue, police said.

The fight occurred about 4 p.m. Sunday in the 300 block of Avenue H. Gonzales and Perales said they were antagonized by others who threw gang signs, Detective Sgt. Steve Hubbard said.

Several people were involved in the fight, and two more arrests are expected, Hubbard said. No weapons were used and nobody was seriously injured, he said.

The arson ivestigation also may yield more arrests, Hubbard said.

Perales, a known gang member, has an extensive criminal history. He was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison in January 2011 for theft; to two 3-years terms in 2009 for unlawful use of and unlawful possession of a firearm; and 2 years, 6 months' probation in 2008 for property damage, all in Whiteside County.

Anyone with information about this fight or any criminal activity is asked to call the Sterling Police Department at 815-632-6640 or Whiteside County Crime Stoppers at 815-625-7867. Tips may be emailed to tipline@sterling-il.gov.

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