Fight over politics ends in stabbing

February 25, 2008 4:00:40 PM PST
One man supports Hillary Clinton. His brother-in-law supports Barack Obama. Their difference in political opinions came to blows and then got bloody, police said.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Jose Ortiz supports Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He is now in prison because of what police say happened in a Collegeville townhouse Thursday night.

Ortiz's brother-in-law 42-year-old Sean Shurelds supports Clinton's rival, Barack Obama. Investigators said the two men got into a very heated debate over the candidates.

"Their verbal argument became physical. One began choking the other, and then the victim of the choking took a kitchen knife and stabbed his brother- in-law in the stomach," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

When police arrived, they found Shurelds, the Obama supporter, bleeding heavily. Ortiz, the Clinton backer, was all wet because authorities say he had washed the bloody knife and put in the dishwasher. Shurelds was airlifted to Hahnemann Hospital in critical condition. Ortiz is charged with aggravated and simple assault and reckless endangerment. A woman who answered the door at 107 Honeylocust Court on Monday said she didn't know anything about the stabbing. Neighbors said they didn't either. Montgomery County's district attorney called this political confrontation bizarre.

"This is the kind of argument that takes place in households across the region, across the state, across the country, but it never turns violent like this. The consequences here are very serious," said Ferman.

Ortiz, a registered Republican, is charged with felony assault.

Ortiz was held in the Montgomery County prison on 20-thousand dollars bail. He goes to court on March 4th.

Shurelds is listed in good condition at Hahnemann Hospital. He will recover, but we're told both men live in that Collegeville townhouse so it remains to be seen how this political feud turns out.