A Santa Rosa man pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court this morning to the shooting murder of a man outside a southwest Santa Rosa home in June. Latroy Clinton Sr., 39, is charged with fatally shooting Santa Rosa resident 23-year-old Oscar Valencia around 2 a.m. on June 25.
Police said the shooting apparently happened during a random encounter between Clinton and the victim. Officers said Clinton got into an argument with a group of men in a parked vehicle when he arrived home in the 2700 block of Cumberland Street at Homestead Lane.
Valencia was shot in the head and died at the scene, police said. Clinton fled in a white van south on U.S. Highway 101 into Marin County, police Sgt. Rainer Navarro said. When the California Highway Patrol used spike strips to flatten the van’s tires, Clinton ran into a field near Saint Vincent Drive in San Rafael. K-9 units from the Santa Rosa and Novato police departments and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter searched the area, Navarro said.
A man matching Clinton’s description was spotted running across the freeway and stopping cars, but police were able to stop him before he entered any vehicles, Navarro said. The CHP recovered a firearm believed to be the murder weapon 1400 feet north of the Marinwood overcrossing on U.S. Highway 101, Navarro said.
Clinton also pleaded not guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and evading police in disregard of public safety. His attorney Walter Rubenstein said Clinton, who has two felony strikes, recently returned to the Bay Area. “He had a job and was getting life back together,” Rubenstein said this morning. Clinton is being held in the Sonoma County jail. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 20.
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