Santa Rosa officers arrested two young men with suspected gang ties — one of them in possession of a loaded gun and packaged cocaine — early Thursday morning at the Montgomery High School campus, police said.
At about 12:40 a.m., police received reports of vehicles racing and doing donuts near the campus at 1250 Hahman Drive. When officers arrived at the scene, they started contacting suspicious vehicles and initiating a search of the campus.
From his patrol car, one officer spotted two people leaving a baseball diamond on the east end of the school. The officer got out of his car and approached Robert Anthony Decoite, 19, and David Alejandro Barragan-Arcos, 22, said Sgt. Tommy Isachsen.
The officer saw gang tattoos and started conducting a pat-search, Isachsen said. Decoite, however, was evasive and broke away and ran off into the campus when the officer tried to grab his arm, according to a police statement.
Decoite ignored the officer’s order to stop and kept running, reaching into his waistband as if holding onto something, police said. The young man then grabbed an object with his other hand and discarded it.
When Decoite reached the middle of the campus, he fell to the ground. The officer chasing after him saw and heard a handgun hit the ground and slide away from Decoite.
The suspect got up and tried to run off but fell once more, at which point the officer was able to hold Decoite at gunpoint while other officers arrived. That’s when Barragan-Arcos came up behind the officer near the spot where the gun fell, police said.
The officer yelled at Barragan-Arcos to stay back and focused his attention on him. Barragan-Arcos yelled back at the officer and appeared to be filming the officer with a cellphone, police said.
Decoite took advantage of the distraction and again took off running.
The officer seized the gun on the ground and again chased Decoite. Another arriving officer helped take Decoite into custody.
Isachsen said the officer who originally came into contact with Decoite and Barragan-Arcos showed a great deal of restraint in apprehending the two suspected gang members.
“They put the officer in a very dangerous situation,” he said.
Once the two suspects were detained, the initial officer retraced Decoite’s steps and found numerous plastic bags containing cocaine, police said.
Decoite was arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded gun in a public place; possessing a firearm at a school; possessing narcotics for sale and other charges. Barragan-Arcos was arrested for obstructing justice and resisting a police officer and other charges.
Both were booked into the Sonoma County Jail. Decoite and Barragan-Arcos are both Santa Rosa residents. Neither attend Montgomery High School.
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @renofish.