Thousands of people turn out to see the Christmas light tradition that's gone on in Fresno County for 89 years.
Organizers say they hope the violence won't dissuade families from enjoying the holiday spectacle but changes to the annual event could come.
There were more bright lights than usual at /*Christmas Tree Lane*/ Tuesday night. Law enforcement officers were called in for a stabbing. The stabbing happened on Van Ness and Griffith around 8:30 on the last walking night for the event. A 17-year-old was stabbed while families strolled down the 2-mile Christmas light display that's been a holiday tradition in Fresno County.
"We open our neighborhood for people to enjoy something very joyous for Christmas and to have this happen, I mean it's a big concern," said Dean Alexander, coordinator for the Christmas Tree Lane.
Alexander has decorated his home for the last 22 years and has never seen any violence until last night. He said he will get together with the Fig Garden Home Owners Association to discuss its future. "We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know the outcome but we'll discuss it and make sure what we can do to make improvements in the future," said Alexander.
Because Christmas Tree Lane lies in a Fresno County island, the Sheriff's office is investigating the incident. Detectives believe the stabbing was gang related. Investigators arrested a 17-year-old who ran from the scene. "When the investigation continued, they learned that this subject was in fact involved in the fight but was not part of the stabbing," said Deputy Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.
Residents who live nearby are worried some families may think twice before coming out to enjoy the holiday lights. "Very scary because it has a big impact on not only the people coming but it will have impact on the attendance for Christmas Tree Lane," said Nancy Wood of Fresno.
Organizers emphasize the event is safe and will continue its run until Christmas Day.
The teenaged victim underwent surgery for his injuries and is believed to be in stable condition. The Sheriff's department is still searching for the suspect and they're asking anyone with information to call authorities.