A 15-year-old was arrested Friday on suspicion of assaulting a 17-year-old with a baseball bat Thursday night in what Santa Rosa police said appeared to be a drug deal gone bad.

Police said the incident was likely gang-related.

The victim, who was not identified, arranged with three suspects to meet on Randall Lane to sell several pounds of marijuana, Sgt. John Cregan. But the suspects tried to take the drugs from him by force, he said.

During the confrontation, the 15-year-old struck the victim in the head with an aluminum baseball bat, police said. When several people called 911 to report the attack, the three suspects fled in what witnesses described as a dark-colored Pontiac Grand Am.

As they fled, Cregan said, a friend of the victim "stabbed one of the tires" on the car.

A short time later, a passing ambulance driver saw a car matching the suspect car's description parked at the Shell gas station on Fourth Street at Farmers Lane, police said.

"When officers arrived, they saw some kind of industrial tape on one of the tires," said Cregan. "The car matched the description that went out on the radio."

Cregan said officers saw a "felony amount of marijuana and a bloody baseball bat" in plain view inside the green 2003 Grand Am.

The victim, who was struck near his face, was transported to a local hospital. He was released Friday evening, Cregan said.

Marcell Leroy Battiest, 19, and Isaiah Medler, 18, of Santa Rosa were arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale. Their exact roles in the assault were being investigated, he said.

Creegan said the 15-year-old was the primary suspect and he was arrested and booked into Juvenile Hall on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana for sale.

Cregan said witnesses and the victim identified the suspects in a photo lineup Thursday night.

You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.