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Vehicle hit by gunfire in west Santa Rosa

Gunfire erupted outside a West Santa Rosa apartment complex Thursday evening in what police suspect may be the second gang-related shooting in a week.

Dispatchers received a report around 7:30 p.m. of shots fired at the intersection of West Ninth Street and Link Lane.

Two vehicles, a black sport utility vehicle and a gold car were spotted leaving the area, Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said.

Soon after arriving at the scene, officers found an Isuzu SUV on the south side West Ninth Street with a bullet hole in it, a knife on the ground nearby, and four shell casings in the driveway of the Puerta Villa apartment complex across the street, Lazzarini said.

Investigators were looking into the possibility that the shooting was related to a similar incident over the weekend and that both might be gang-related, Lazzarini said.

In that case, officers believe five or six juvenile males shouted gang challenges and confronted two victims in the 500 block of Olive Street before someone hit one of the victims with a blunt object.

A second suspect reportedly fired multiple shots from a handgun that missed the victims, but struck an unoccupied vehicle and a fence. The suspects left the area in a dark sport utility vehicle, a description similar to one of the vehicles in the Thursday's incident.

Witness accounts Thursday weren't providing very detailed information, however, Lazzarini said.

“It's all very vague,” he said.

There has been an increase in gang graffiti in the city recently and the shootings might be further indication of escalating tensions between gang members, Lazzarini said.

The Santa Rosa Police Department is encouraging anyone who witnessed either shooting to call 543-3670.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater.

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