Two men with ties to a white supremacist gang were arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing a hate crime, more than two months after a black man was stabbed outside a McDonald's restaurant in south Santa Rosa.
Aaron Welch, 26, of Clearlake and Salvatore Bordessa, 32, of Windsor were held Thursday on $1 million bail at the Sonoma County Jail, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Ranier Navarro said.
The men, who are white, were set to be charged Monday with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon as well as committing a hate crime, making threats, dissuading a witness and gang enhancements, records show.
Police officials still are searching for a woman who was with them, Navarro said.
The arrests stem from an Aug. 26 encounter outside the McDonald's restaurant at Santa Rosa and Yolanda avenues.
Bordessa and Welch, who frequently stays in Santa Rosa, were harassing a group of women across the street about 1:30 a.m., Navarro said.
A 24-year-old man and his two friends were walking by and told the men to "knock it off" and stop bothering the women, whom they did not know, Navarro said.
Welch and Bordessa then confronted them, "yelling out racial slurs," Navarro said. The suspects pulled out knives, shouted the name of a local white-supremacist gang, yelled "white pride" and attacked them, Navarro said.
The 24-year-old man and his friends ran into the McDonald's.
Welch and Bordessa appeared to leave in a pickup, but the two suspected gang members were waiting near a fence and bushes when the group exited the restaurant, Navarro said.
The suspects stabbed the 24-year-old man in the shoulder, kicked him to the ground and stabbed him again in the leg several times, Navarro said. One of the suspects grabbed a phone away from one of the man's friends, who was trying to call 911, Navarro said.
Welch and Bordessa left in a pickup.
The wounded man, whom police did not identify out of concern for his safety, did not know his assailants, but described distinctive tattoos that led detectives to connect the suspects to the assault, Navarro said.
Thursday morning, detectives arrested Bordessa as he drove away from his Windsor home, Navarro said. Officers found a marijuana garden in his garage on Orion Drive as well as about six pounds of processed pot, he said.
A separate group of gang detectives with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office went to Welch's home on 33rd Avenue near Pine Avenue in Clearlake, where they found more than two pounds of processed pot and a pickup matching the description from the Aug. 26 assault, he said.
Detectives suspect Welch and Bordessa belong to a white supremacist gang with members in Sonoma, Lake and Solano counties. The assault is the only hate crime investigated by the Santa Rosa gang detectives so far this year, he said.
"It is not an overwhelming issue, but we do have an element out there that has a racial hatred," Navarro said.
Anyone with information about the woman with the suspects can call the Police Department's gang crimes team at 543-3670.