Drone finds suspect hiding in brush along Highway 101

Responding to a report of a vandal brandishing a firearm, police used a drone and dog Saturday night to find and arrest a suspect hiding in brush along Highway 101 in Santa Rosa.

A second suspect fled and remains at large, Sgt. Marcus Sprague said Sunday. Police continue to search for him and the gun.

Around 9:16 p.m., police received a report of two men tagging “gang-related graffiti” on the 100 block of Olive Street when another man confronted them.

At that time, according to police, one of the vandals displayed the firearm, threatening the man with it before both suspects fled on bicycles.

The first officer to arrive saw the two suspects fleeing, one northbound on Olive Street, the other in the direction of nearby Highway 101.

After police established a search perimeter, a drone unit supervised by Sgt. Mike Clark was called in.

Clark soon discovered one suspect, Javier Sanchez-Velasquez, 18, of Santa Rosa, hiding in a brushy area along a sound wall near the highway.

When Sanchez-Velasquez failed to respond to repeated warnings about the possible deployment of police dog, the “K9 partner” was released.

Following his arrest, Sanchez-Velasquez was treated at a local hospital for a dog bite and then booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of obstructing a police officer, felony vandalism and a gang enhancement.

The second suspect, described as a male with dark hair, 17 or 18 years of age, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 with a thin build, and last seen riding a BMX bicycle, remains at large.

The possible firearm involved also remains outstanding, police said in a statement.

You can reach Staff Writer Austin Murphy at 707-521-5214 or

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