PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – A female white supremacist gang member stabbed a black man and woman during an apparent race-related brawl late Thursday, authorities said.
Police arrested Mandie Kearns, 28, who they said had a bloody knife in her pocket and admitted to being a member of the racist gang, said Palm Springs Police Sgt. Mitch Spike.
Kearns is being held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime charge and police are searching the area for additional suspects.
The stabbings occurred during a street fight between white and black crowds that totaled close to 30 near the city's busy weekly street fair, Spike said.
Police who arrived to the scene found the 20-year-old black woman with serious stab wounds to her back and the man, also 20, with less serious wounds to the back and shoulder.
"We think it was racially motivated," Spike said. He did not reveal what ignited the brawl, but said racial violence is rare in the city. The woman suffered two collapsed lungs from the stab wounds.
Police withheld the identities of the two victims to prevent possible retaliation.
Richard Cadarette, chairman of the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission, said he was surprised by the incident.
"Nothing like that has ever occurred that I've heard of. White supremacy is something I'm completely unfamiliar with in this location," he said.
Riverside County authorities have been monitoring in recent years white supremacist groups in the southwest part of the county and unincorporated areas near Desert Hot Springs.
The FBI and Riverside County formed a hate crimes task force in 2003.