A reputed Oakland gang member who had been on the run since skipping a court appearance in September is now back in custody after an off-duty Oakland officer spotted him at an upscale San Francisco steakhouse on Thursday, police said today. Ronnie Flenaugh, 20, was dining with his wife and about 10 associates at Ruth’s Chris Steak House at 1601 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco at about 10 p.m. Thursday when he was noticed by Oakland police Officer Ernesto Leyva, who was at the restaurant to celebrate his wife’s birthday, according to Oakland police Capt. Ersie Joyner. Leyva is part of a team of officers who had been seeking Flenaugh, who caught his eye because he was trying to hide his identity by wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a hat that was pulled down on his head, Joyner said.
Leyva called his Oakland police colleagues to help him arrest Flenaugh when he left the restaurant and the officers were also assisted by the San Francisco Police Department’s street team, Joyner said. Joyner praised Leyva for displaying professionalism and employing good tactics to make sure that no one at the restaurant was put in danger. The arrest was “executed flawlessly,” Joyner said. He described Flenaugh as one of Oakland’s most dangerous fugitives and said he is a suspect in multiple violent crimes in East Oakland. Flenaugh was arrested in September for allegedly brandishing a gun during an incident in East Oakland but quickly made bail and failed to appear at a subsequent court hearing, according to Joyner. A bench warrant was issued for Flenaugh, but until Thursday night he eluded multiple attempts to arrest him, including several high-speed chases, Joyner said.
He said police developed information that Flenaugh might be staying at a house in Las Vegas but when authorities went to that house Thursday night he wasn’t there. Joyner said some of the gang-related shootings in which police believe Flenaugh participated prompted retaliatory shootings in which innocent people were injured. He said the retaliatory shootings included a recent incident in which Flenaugh’s wife was shot several times as she was picking up her children at a school in East Oakland. Flenaugh is now back in jail without bail and is scheduled to appear in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday.
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