General Crime

* Elvis Torrentes 7th suspect Arrested, Gang Rape Victim From Richmond High School Releases Statement

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The 15-year-old victim of a gang rape outside Richmond High School’s homecoming dance last month issued her first public statement today, which was read at a rally and vigil on the campus this afternoon.”Violence is always a wrong choice,” the statement read. “We realize people are angry about this, but let the anger cause change; change that is necessary to keep our children, our neighbors and our friends safe. We thank everyone for their love, support and ongoing prayers.”DeAnna Schlau, a victim advocate from Community Violence Solutions, read the statement before hundreds of attendees at the event, which featured speakers, as well as performances of music, spoken word, and poems.About 80 percent of those who attended the rally this afternoon were students, said Terrance Cheung, chief of staff for Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who spoke at the event.Other speakers included Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, school officials and students.Cheung said all the performances today were connected by a theme of unity, and that the event was held to bring the community together, not to point fingers. Earlier today, police in Richmond arrested a seventh person in connection with the Oct. 24 attack on the victim.A SWAT team from the police detective bureau took Elvis Torrentes, 21, into custody at a home in the northern part of Richmond at about 7 a.m., police Lt. Mark Gagan said.Police believe the suspect played an active role in the attack in a secluded area of the school. A group of as many as 10 people beat and raped the girl for more than two hours while others watched, according to police.Torrentes is being held on $1.25 million bail, and will face charges of rape in concert, sexual battery and penetration with a foreign object, Gagan said.”His bail reflects the severity of his crimes and the role we believe he played in this crime,” he said.Gagan declined to specify whether more arrests are imminent, but said officers are “actively pursuing every lead.”Police do not yet have lab results from physical evidence collected at the crime scene, Gagan said. That process usually takes several weeks and could provide evidence to support existing arrests, and potentially identify new suspects, he said.A sixth suspect, Jose Carlos Montano, 18, was arrested Thursday and was charged Monday, Gagan said. Four other suspects have been charged and were arraigned Thursday. They are San Pablo residents Cody Ray Smith, 15, and Ari Abdallah Morales, 16; Pinole resident Marcelles James Peter, 17; and Richmond resident Manuel Ortega, 19.The three juveniles have been charged as adults with rape by a foreign object while acting in concert. Morales was also charged with robbery, according to the criminal complaint. All four are also charged with enhancements that make them eligible for life in prison if convicted. Another person was arrested but later released after the district attorney’s office declined to file charges.

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