Internal gang rivalry at heart of Santa Rosa murder case

A CHP detective testified Thursday that a Santa Rosa gang member charged in a fatal school stabbing admitted killing another man a year earlier who he had mistaken for a rival.

Officer Bill Harm testified that Raul Vega, 19, accused in the Jan. 8 slaying at Kawana Elementary School, confessed to killing Dewey Tucker, a 24-year-old Vallejo musician, on Jan. 12, 2010.

Harm testified that Vega admitted in a police interview that he and three co-defendants traveled to a Solano County apartment complex after receiving a tip of a threat against members of their southwest sureno gang subset.

When a car with tinted windows pulled out of the driveway, Vega and co-defendant Javier Carreon-Lopez, 20, followed it onto Interstate 80, drove alongside it and Vega fired at it three to five times, Harm testified.

Tucker, who lived at the complex and was headed to a rehearsal, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head.

"He said he had both hands on the firearm and pulled the trigger with both fingers," Harm testified in the preliminary hearing for Vega, Carreon-Lopez and 29-year-olds Hector Barragan and Christopher Mancinas.

All four are charged with murder in the death of Tucker. Vega is charged with an additional count of murder in the death of Juan Carlos Angel Esparza, 20, at Kawana Elementary School in January of this year.

Tucker's mother winced and closed her eyes as the detective recounted Vega's confession, made after his arrest by Santa Rosa police in the slaying of Juan Carlos Angel Esparza, 20.

"I'm still getting over the shock," Shirley Tucker said as she left the courthouse surrounded by other family members, including Dewey Tucker's father and fianc?.

Earlier in the hearing, a Sonoma County sheriff's detective testified that he had intercepted a letter the day Tucker was killed containing threats against Barragan, Mancinas and others.

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