* Rogelio Serrato died in a fire during the Jan. 5 raid in the 200 block of San Antonio Drive
Published by Staff Writer on January 13, 2011
Monterey County sheriff’s officials have released more information about what led to a man’s death last week in a Greenfield house that was being searched in connection with a New Year’s Day shooting outside a Monterey bar. Rogelio Serrato, 31, died in a fire during the Jan. 5 raid in the 200 block of San Antonio Drive.The home was believed to be connected to a shooting that injured three men outside the Mucky Duck nightclub in Monterey in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, according to the sheriff’s office.Authorities were looking for Alejandro Gonzalez, 23, the suspected shooter, and believed Serrato – who is allegedly a member of two gangs with Gonzalez – would also be there.Serrato, who is believed to be in the Tiny Locos and Vario Greenfus Norte gangs, had two misdemeanor warrants for domestic violence
offenses, sheriff’s officials said.At about 9:25 a.m. on Jan. 5, members of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Special Response Unit and the sheriff’s SWAT team arrived at the home and called for anyone inside to come out.About 20 minutes later, a woman exited the home and said no one else was inside. Authorities continued to wait outside until shortly before 10:30 a.m., when a flash grenade – a diversionary device designed to make a loud explosion and emit smoke – was deployed into the home, sheriff’s officials said.A couple of minutes later, a fire was spotted inside the home, and within 10 minutes,Greenfield firefighters were battling the blaze.After extinguishing the fire, Serrato was found at about 11:15 a.m. in a rear bedroom of the home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.The woman who had exited the home told authorities at the scene that Serrato had been hiding in the attic, sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards said.The ceiling above where Serrato was found was broken downward into the room, so it appears he fell from the attic, sheriff’s officials said.The preliminary autopsy indicates that Serrato died of smoke inhalation, and no other trauma was found on his body.The fire appears to have been caused by the diversionary device “since the place caught on fire right afterward,” Richards said, but added that the official cause remains under investigation.The sheriff’s office released a statement saying authorities “employed all safe means” to bring the raid to a peaceful end.”It is unknown why (Serrato) chose not to exit the residence,” the statement said.Gonzalez was not found during the raid, but he turned himself in to San Jose police on Monday and has since been taken back to Monterey County, Richards said.Gonzalez was booked into Monterey City Jail on three counts of attempted murder and one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and a gang enhancement, according to Monterey police.The three men injured in the New Year’s Day shooting are all expected to survive, police said.
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