Northwest Portland

Two visiting soccer fans arrested for April attack on Timbers fan

Two visiting soccer fans arrested for April attack on Timbers fan
James Decker said a group of San Jose Earthquakes fans attacked him and smashed his windshield. (Photo from James Decker)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested two people they said assaulted a Portland Timbers fan in downtown Portland back in April.

Two suspects – Jennifer Marques, 29, and Uriel Vargas, 21 – are fans of the San Jose Earthquakes and police said the assault happened when they were in town to watch their team play the Timbers.

They were arrested in Santa Clara, Calif. a police spokesman said.

A grand jury reviewed the case and filed several charges against both suspects. Marques faces charges for assault, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, harassment and disorderly conduct. Vargas faces charges of criminal mischief, harassment and disorderly conduct.

A law enforcement source who asked to not be named said both suspects are members of a fan group called the 1906 Ultras (a rough equivalent to Portland's Timbers Army).

They were identified by detectives in Portland. Investigators in San Jose told their Portland counterparts that they were familiar with the Marques and Vargas, according to the source.

Investigators said the attack happened before a Sunday afternoon game in April. The victim, James Decker, was stopped at a red light on Burnside Street when he saw the San Jose fans walking by.

Investigators said Decker held up a Timbers scarf and yelled towards the group. At that point, police said Marques ran up and hit him in the face.

Decker tried to drive away and Marques fell. When he stopped to check on her, a group of men with San Jose Earthquakes scarves over their faces jumped on his car and smashed the windshield.

One man in that group opened the car door and hit Decker.

Decker told KATU at the time that the attack was “outside the context of anything I’ve ever experienced” as a sports fan.

The 1906 Ultras group has been in hot water recently. While not officially associated with the team, the Earthquakes organization chastised the group for an inappropriate tifo (a large banner hoisted at soccer matches). That tifo was displayed when the Timbers played in San Jose in July.

According to NBC Sports, sanctions imposed after the attack in Portland were also reiterated after the tifo incident. Those sanctions include probation and a suspension of travel privileges.

Vargas and Marques are currently being held at a jail in Santa Clara. They will later be extradited to Oregon and brought to the Multnomah County Jail, police said.

Investigators have also identified additional suspects and expect more charges to be filed.