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Fight between brothers turns deadly in Healdsburg, police say

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A verbal spat Wednesday night between two brothers in a Healdsburg apartment escalated into a deadly physical altercation after one brother stabbed the other multiple times in the upper torso, police said.

Police arrested Moses Torres, 18, for suspicion of murder in connection with the stabbing death of his 25-year-old brother Ivan Torres outside the apartment, Healdsburg Police Sgt. Nick Castaneda said Thursday. The suspect was booked into Sonoma County Jail and is being held without bail.

Police said it was the first homicide in the city in over two years.

“It’s a tragedy,’’ Castaneda said, describing verbal sparring between the brothers that turned physical and ultimately left one of them dead. Officers said they are still investigating what caused the fight.

Shortly after being dispatched, police arrived at Canyon Run Apartments at 7:12 p.m. and found the older Torres lying on the ground outside an apartment with apparent stab wounds. He died as he was being transported to the hospital, Castaneda said. Moses was living in the Healdsburg apartment with his father Luis Torres, he said, but the victim had lived in Santa Rosa.

An initial police investigation determined the Torres brothers were arguing inside the apartment along with two other unidentified adults, Castaneda said. Then the argument turned into a fistfight and moved outside the apartment, culminating with the younger brother pulling a pocketknife and stabbing his brother, the sergeant said.

“This is a generally safe area and these incidents don’t happen that often,” he said.

Lisa Benning, a neighbor in the apartment complex, said she heard intermittent shouting for nearly an hour Wednesday night starting around 5 p.m. That was not uncommon for that residence, she said of the Torres apartment.

“It seemed like that family might have had some problems,” said Benning, who has lived in the Burbank Housing complex since 2002 and raised two children there.

“It’s quiet and so safe in this neighborhood,” she said, recalling only one minor incident in the community the year she moved there. “But this is shocking and it made me want to cry.”

As fire engines and police officers swarmed her neighborhood Wednesday night, she said she watched as first responders carried away a body, with the torso wrapped in white bandages.

“These kids were shy and quiet, and very well spoken,” Benning said. “There is something so extreme about this happening to a family.”

The Torres family was familiar to law enforcement. Over the years, authorities had been called to the apartment multiple times over complaints of domestic violence, police said. None of those calls led to arrests, however.

“Physical things had happened between the brothers and the dad in the past,” Castaneda said. “It is so unfortunate.”

The 51-unit apartment complex where the stabbing occurred is managed by the nonprofit Burbank Housing, which oversees 65 other properties across the North Bay.

Laurie Hogan, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit, said only about 10 other serious incidents have happened at one of Burbank’s Sonoma County properties in nearly 40 years.

Hogan spent most of Thursday going door-to-door in Canyon Run to check on residents. She taped notes on front doors with information on the stabbing when there was no answer.

“This horrific thing that happened here last night impacts our community,” Hogan said.

Access to grief counseling services and mental health resources were made available to residents on Thursday, she said.

“Our mission is about providing safe and affordable housing, that is the core to what we do,” Hogan said.

You can reach Staff Writer Alexandria Bordas at 707-521-5337 or alexandria.bordas@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @CrossingBordas.

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