Multiple illegal sideshows reported across Santa Rosa

The largest gathering drew as many as 150 vehicles and roughly 250 spectators to Summerfield Road and Hoen Avenue in east Santa Rosa just before midnight Saturday.|

A wave of illegal sideshows in Santa Rosa and adjacent neighborhoods late Saturday and Sunday morning resulted in reports of gunfire, assaults on two bystanders and a pair of burning vehicles, authorities said.

The largest gathering drew as many as 150 vehicles and roughly 250 spectators to Summerfield Road and Hoen Avenue in east Santa Rosa just before midnight. There, police received reports of two people who were assaulted by sideshow spectators, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Chris Mahurin said.

The pair lived in the area and had come to the street to see what has happening when they were assaulted, Mahurin said. He declined to share details about the reported assault, though he said the two victims received only minor injuries and were not transported to a hospital.

No suspect description was available.

“We’re going through a bunch of footage and things like that,” Mahurin said of officers’ efforts to identify the assailants.

The string of sideshows began with a gathering of 50 cars at the FoodMaxx parking lot on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa just before 11 p.m., police said. From there, the group moved to the area of Stony Point Road and Todd Avenue, where police heard reports of vehicles that were doing donuts, drifting and driving recklessly.

The first vehicle fire of the night was reported there before the group dispersed, moving north, police said.

A second sideshow was reported at Frazier Avenue and Petaluma Hill Road 11:45 p.m., though the group moved to Summerfield Road shortly after, police said.

That’s where dispatchers received a report of a second burning vehicle, which resulted in a Santa Rosa Fire Department engine driving to the area. As firefighters arrived, spectators climbed onto the exterior of their fire engine and took photos and videos, police said.

They continued to do so as firefighters extinguished the vehicle, a blue Corvette that was charred by the fire. Given the fire and the assault, most of the department’s officers were dispatched to the sideshow, which took them 45 minutes to clear, Mahurin said.

Three additional sideshows ― one on Willowside Road and Guerneville Road west of the Santa Rosa city limits, one at Fulton Road and Piner Road and the other at West Avenue and Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood ― were reported to authorities early Sunday.

While the sideshow at Fulton Road and Piner Road was underway, dispatchers received reports of a masked man who had brandished a firearm and was threatening a citizen. There were also reports of illegal fireworks and firearms being shot.

“We don’t have any idea why he specifically brandished the firearm,” Mahurin said of the masked suspect. “Right now, (what we know is) it was the pointing of a handgun to individuals in the crowd.”

Officers from several neighboring agencies responded to help with the sideshow, police said. The illegal gatherings were cleared by 3 a.m.

In all, the sideshows prompted 396 calls to Santa Rosa dispatchers in a four-hour period. That’s roughly the average number of call the department receives in the course of a Saturday, Mahurin said.

“We’re going to have our investigators go through as much as we can, so hopefully this week we’ll have information to share about possible suspects related to the assaults and the brandishing of the firearm, as well as any possible vehicles associated with the illegal sideshow behavior,” Mahurin said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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