Man sought for assault with knife

Ashland police want the public's help finding a homeless man who reportedly cut another man's face with a knife during a fight early Tuesday.

The suspect has been identified as Rudy James Barela, 28, a transient known to frequent the Ashland area, Ashland police Sgt. Bob Smith said.

Barela confronted the victim in the area of Second and East Main streets at 1:30 a.m. and a struggle ensued. At some point Barela slashed the victim above the right eye and across one arm, Smith said.

"Anytime you have a knife involved in an assault, the charges are pretty serious," Smith said. "We are looking at a second-degree assault charge in this case."

Second-degree assault is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years, 10 months.

Police warn that Barela should be considered armed and dangerous. The public is encouraged to call police if they see him in town. Barela is believed to have shaved a mustache he normally wears but still has a thin beard.

Smith said the victim didn't suffer life-threatening injuries during the assault. Detectives are still trying to piece together what occurred and did not speculate whether the assault could have been part of a failed robbery attempt or some other crime, Smith said.

"We have developed information up until this afternoon that Barela is still in Ashland," Smith said. "We just aren't sure where."

Smith said there is no evidence that Barela knew the victim prior to the altercation.

"We are expecting a lot of calls from the public on this case," Smith said. "Barela is known to a lot of people in town. We are hoping that one of those calls will help us track him down."

Smith said detectives had information that Barela was still in the Ashland area as late as Wednesday afternoon.

"For all we know he is hiding in someone's house, up at the watershed or over at the hot springs," Smith said. "All we need is for someone to give us a good location and we will do our best to make contact with Mr. Barela."

Anyone with information on Barela's whereabouts is asked to call Ashland police at 541-482-5211.

Chris Conrad is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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