General Crime

8 Arrested In Crackdown Prompted By Gang Violence in Santa Rosa

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Eight people were arrested today in connection with gang-related assaults that occurred over the past two months in a Santa Rosa neighborhood, a police sergeant said.

More than 35 officers from the Santa Rosa Police Department, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County Probation Department and the California Highway Patrol executed nine search warrants this morning in the areas of West Ninth Street, Rockwell Place and Simpson Place, Sgt. Eric Goldschlag said.

Three Santa Rosa juveniles, ages 14, 15 and 17, and 18-year-old Eleazar Aguilera, of Santa Rosa, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancements.

This evening, at about 6 p.m., four more wanted suspects turned themselves in at the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Police identified them as 18-year-old Luis Fernando Catalan-Espinoza; 22-year-old Heriberto Lopez-Ruiz; 27-year-old Gustavo Lopez-Ruiz; and 20-year-old Rosendo Lopez-Ruiz. All four are Santa Rosa residents.

Neighbors in the area of West Ninth Street had complained to police about fighting, alcohol and drug use, and intimidation of residents by Sureno street gang members who live in the area, Goldschlag said.

In incidents that occurred between Dec. 3 and Jan. 5, a weapon was brandished at a 13-year-old walking home from a store; gunfire hit a car; two people were assaulted with a broken bottle; and four people were assaulted by 20 alleged Sureno gang members who believed the victims were rivals because they were wearing red, police said.

One of the eight suspects arrested today — the 17-year-old — was already in custody, having been arrested on Dec. 28 after showing up at a hospital with a cut on his hand, Goldschlag said. The bottle attack had occurred earlier that day, and the victims identified the teen as being involved in the assault, police said.

The Santa Rosa Police Department’s gang crimes team investigated the incidents and identified 12 suspects in the cases. Several are still outstanding.

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