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3 wounded in raid on Petaluma home

  • Area law enforcement line up on the sidewalk along S. McDowell Blvd to provide assistance in securing a home on McNeil Avenue, across from the Washington Square Shopping Center in Petaluma, California, on Thursday, May 3, 2012. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Three Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are expected to survive gunshot wounds suffered during a pre-dawn confrontation Thursday that jolted an east Petaluma neighborhood.

"These agents were wounded when they encountered a barrage of gunfire from an assault rifle while executing this search warrant," Clark Settles, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco, said at a news conference in South San Francisco.

Federal authorities declined to give specifics on how the agents were shot, where they were at the time, what their wounds are and who shot them.

Federal Raid In Petaluma

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The operation was one of 11 coordinated raids in the Bay Area aimed at gang activity and specifically a 2010 triple homicide in South San Francisco.

Victor Flores, 20, of Petaluma was among 13 people arrested during the sweep, but U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag would not say whether he was the suspect who arrested in Petaluma after the exchange of gunfire.

Flores is named in a federal indictment accusing him of murder in the 2010 killings. He is identified as a member of a gang operating less than a mile from the South San Francisco municipal center.

The boom of gunfire — and possibly an explosion — erupted at about 4 a.m. Thursday when heavily armed federal agents arrived to serve "high-risk" arrest warrants at the home at 1325 McNeil Ave., across South McDowell Boulevard from the Washington Square Shopping Center, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Forty to 50 law enforcement agents in military garb were lined up on McNeil Avenue to enter the home, said neighbors Joey Sullivan and Kolubah Dukuly, who live two doors from the weathered, gray-blue house.

Katie Behrs, who also lives in the neighborhood, said she and her husband were awakened by loud bangs, presumably from the flash-bang devices officers agents often use to distract and surprise a suspect as they enter a building.

Gunfire followed.


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