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Santa Rosa man convicted in gang-related killing

A 23-year-old Santa Rosa man was convicted Tuesday of the 2009 fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old man during an attack fueled by rival gang affiliations, Sonoma County District Attorney's officials said.

Fernando Mendoza faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole plus 26-years-to-life for first-degree murder with added time because it was a gang killing, District Attorney's officials said. He will be sentenced Feb. 23.

On April 6, 2009, Mendoza drove up alongside Luis Suarez, 18, a member of the Angelino Heights sure?s gang who was walking in Santa Rosa's Roseland neighborhood, officials said.

Mendoza got out of the car, fired at Suarez and struck him four times, according to police. Prosecutors said Mendoza tattooed the initials for "norte? killer" on his back after the shooting.

Three people testified in court that Mendoza bragged about the slaying the following morning.

- Julie Johnson


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