The gunshot that killed 19-year-old Juan Carlos Duarte came as he and hundreds of others were leaving a large dance about 1 a.m. at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
Duarte and another man had exchanged words inside the Baile Mexicano event and outside in the parking lot. Moments later, in front of dozens of witnesses, a bullet fired from a medium-caliber gun hit Duarte in the head. A black Pontiac Trans Am with a gold eagle ornament on the hood and the shooter inside sped away into the summer night.
That was nearly 23 years ago, and Duarte's suspected killer, Francisco Sanchez Reyes — who would now be 61 — has never been caught.
He is one of 10 people, all of them men, who make up the first-ever Most Wanted list released this week by the Santa Rosa Police Department.
The list was posted on both the department's website and its Facebook page. It includes several wanted gang members — one sought by detectives for a brazen 2005 execution-style slaying of a rival gang member, another who stabbed a rival in the face on New Year's Eve in 2010 — and others with violent histories who are suspected of weapon offenses or violating their parole.
Police officials said the new effort, long associated with popular television shows and increasingly common among local law enforcement agencies across the country, is an attempt to generate public interest in some cases gone cold and allow the community another way to interact with the police department.
Acting Santa Rosa Police Chief Hank Schreeder said he's hoping people will take a look, feel a little more connected to the department and hopefully, help solve crimes.
"It really is for people to see what's going on out there and to be engaged in public safety also, in a measured kind of way," Schreeder said.
Digital-age technology means such lists are no longer confined to courthouse posters, with social media especially driving an immediate and wider audience than was once possible through City Hall broadcasts.
"Now with Facebook, Twitter, Nixle ... it's going to be a lot more beneficial," said Santa Rosa gang Detective Robert Reynolds, who helped spearhead the effort to get the list online.
Choosing Santa Rosa's top 10 wasn't easy, Reynolds said. He notified the department's violent crime and gang investigators, looking for the most serious offenders who were still on the loose and had active warrants for their arrest. There was no shortage of files to choose from.
"There are so many people we could have put on there," Reynolds said.
The final list included three men wanted for homicide and others wanted on attempted homicide, weapons charges and assault. Seven are wanted or known gang members.
They include Ricardo Puentes Jr., 36, sought by Santa Rosa detectives and the FBI in the Jan.15, 2005, killing of Semere Girmai, 27, of Santa Rosa in what prosecutors and police have described as a cold-blooded killing motivated by disputes over drugs and gang turf.
Police said Puentes and two other men showed up at a Hoen Avenue apartment in the early morning hours. Puentes allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot Girmai several times in the head, face and chest and then shot another man in the arm.