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Second suspect arrested in New Year's Eve shooting in Santa Rosa

A 19-year-old Rohnert Park man who went to court Monday thinking he would take care of an outstanding misdemeanor drug warrant was instead taken into custody on a new homicide charge, authorities said.

Manuel Syphanh Khiobouakham is the second suspect to be arrested in a New Year's Eve shooting at a Piner Road apartment complex in Santa Rosa, police said.

He is accused of shooting Damien Wadell Toney, Jr. as a result of an earlier dispute at a party that continued outdoors, police said.

Khiobouakham and a close friend, Joseph Mario Varela, 15, apparently attended the party together and are now both facing murder charges, police Sgt. David Linscomb said.

It was Varela who knew Toney, "though how well, I don't know," Linscomb said.

Varela, who is being tried as an adult, reportedly ran from the scene of the shooting and hid in the nearby residence of an acquaintance. A firearm believed to have been used in the shooting also was recovered, police said.

But forensic evidence later indicated two guns had been used to shoot Toney, and detectives settled on Khiobouakham as a suspect, police said.

Authorities had obtained a warrant for Khiobouakham's arrest in the homicide just two days or so before he went to court Monday morning seeking to clear a $10,000 arrest warrant on suspicion of misdemeanor drug possession, authorities said.

Someone recognized that he was wanted in the homicide, and he was taken into custody in court around 9:15 a.m. Monday, law enforcement officials said.

"We're still investigating it, and there may be more arrests in the case," Linscomb said. But "we believe at this time that there were two shooters and that we have them both in custody."


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