Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man they described as a known gang member Thursday night after finding him with a loaded shotgun and clothing with gang colors in an area of southwest Santa Rosa that’s been hit by numerous shootings in recent weeks, sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said Friday in a news release.
When a sheriff’s deputy stopped him shortly before 10:30 p.m. near Moorland Avenue and Thistle Lane, Jonathan Garcia-Ceja, 28, had in his car a shotgun, a switchblade, a screwdriver sharpened into a weapon, 10 rounds of ammunition and red clothing that can signify norteño gang membership, Focha said.
The area known for having high gang and drug activity has seen several shootings in the past few weeks. Focha said sheriff’s deputies have stepped up patrols in an effort to deter more crimes.
About two weeks ago, on July 24, a 22-year-old Santa Rosa man was shot in the face on Moorland Avenue following a string of shootings that hit homes and cars and barely missed bystanders. He still was receiving treatment last week. The Sheriff’s Office on Friday did not have an update on the man’s condition or the search for suspects in his shooting.
Thursday’s arrest came after a deputy, working traffic enforcement along Moorland Avenue and Thistle Lane, saw Garcia-Ceja’s Honda drive toward him, slow down, and loudly rev its engine. The deputy stopped Garcia-Ceja, who when asked about the loud noise said he had purposefully made it to announce his presence in the area.
Then Garcia-Ceja told the deputy he had a weapon within reach in the backseat, Focha said. The deputy found red sunglasses on the dashboard, the modified screwdriver in the center console, and the switchblade in Garcia-Ceja’s pocket, Focha said. While searching the vehicle, the deputy also found the shotgun, ammunition and more red clothing, including a red belt, Focha said. He arrested Garcia-Ceja on numerous weapons charges and had his car towed away. The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to see if Garcia-Ceja also should be charged with being an active gang member carrying a loaded weapon.
Focha asked anyone who sees illegal activity in the area to call the Sheriff’s Office investigations tip line at 565-2185.