Christmas crime: Man bites off another man’s ear

Steven Cortez was arrested just after midnight Dec. 25 after he

A Gilroy man was arrested early Christmas morning after police say he bit part of another man’s ear off during a fight in a convenience store parking lot.

When officers responded to the reported fight at the 7-Eleven on Tenth Street shortly after midnight, they discovered a 55-year-old man who appeared injured and was missing part of his left ear, according to the Gilroy Police Department.

After interviewing the victim, police searched the area and soon located the suspect – 40-year-old Gilroy resident Steven Cortez – who was lying in a grass area of an apartment complex behind the 7-Eleven, police said.

Police verified that a fight had occurred and arrested Cortez on suspicion of mayhem and a parole violation, GPD Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said.

Mayhem, a charge that occurs when one person willfully disfigures another, is “not very common,” Gallacinao said.

The incident is under investigation, but police believe Cortez intentionally bit the man’s ear. Gallacinao said the fight was “pretty violent,” with both men using their fists and at least one choke-hold during the altercation.

“We’re still determining what started the fight that led up to this mayhem incident,” Gallacinao said.

Gallacinao said the missing portion of the victim’s ear was recovered and sent to the hospital for possible reattachment. It’s unknown if his ear was reattached.