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Gang activity blasts into open in Ontario with gunfire and bloodshed

Ontario Police Officer Tomas Elizondo points to partially painted-over gang graffiti on a shed in south Ontario recently. Elizondo said the city has a gang problem. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

ONTARIO – Over a six-week stretch late last year, a string of shootings hospitalized three people, hurled bullets into cars and through apartment walls, and littered city streets with empty shell casings.

Ontario police believe the violence reflects increasing street gang activity.

“There is a gang problem,” said Ontario Police Officer Tomas Elizondo. “I think gang activity is rising.”

Interviews with local police and a review of records by the Malheur Enterprise show the city recorded 31 gang-related cases in 2016. Last year, that jumped to 158.

Graffiti reports attributed to gangs also jumped from 58 to 169. The upsurge in gang-related . . .