A tattoo on a Santa Rosa man's face helped detectives identify him as the alleged shooter of a downtown bar bouncer, police said Monday.

While patrons in Epic Social Lounge didn't know the man, they told police he was young, Hispanic, had long hair and an upside down cross on one cheek, said Santa Rosa police Sgt. Dave Linscomb.

Less than three days later, police arrested David Montano, 25, at a Sacramento apartment.

On Friday Montano was booked into a Sacramento jail on suspicion of attempted homicide and being an ex-felon with a gun.

Detectives still are investigating whether the shooting, which occurred early Wednesday just outside the Mendocino Avenue nightclub, could be classified as a hate crime.

"We haven't ruled that out," Linscomb said.

The bar that night was holding a gay pride event. The shooting occurred as Montano was being tossed out by the bouncer for making derogatory comments to people at the celebration, police have said.

Montano on Monday remained in custody in Sacramento but was expected to be transferred to the Sonoma County Jail sometime this week.

The ongoing investigation included a search for two men who'd been with Montano at the bar. They'd fled after the shooting, said the sergeant.

The 23-year-old victim, whom Linscomb declined to identify citing safety concerns, was continuing to recover. He'd been shot once in the stomach at close range.

Police initially withheld information about the tattoo. The characteristic helped a police dispatcher comb through records for prior police contacts for a man with such a facial tattoo, leading to his identification.

When police learned he could be in Sacramento, as many as six Santa Rosa detectives Friday went to the valley to look for the man.

Sacramento police helped orchestrate Friday's arrest.

"This guy was definitely dangerous and it's good to have him off the street," said the sergeant.

At the time of Wednesday morning's shooting, Montano was on parole for an assault with a deadly weapon conviction in another county. He has an extensive criminal history throughout the Bay Area and police are aware of prior gang ties, said Linscomb.

In Sonoma County Montano has had two misdemeanor convictions, one for obstructing police and one for giving officers a false name, according to court records.

He'd recently finished serving a six-month sentence at the Sonoma County Jail, which began in January, records indicated.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.