Santa Rosa police increasing patrols around parks, other areas following shootings
Santa Rosa police will increase patrols around parks and other areas impacted by a recent wave of shootings, including one that critically injured a woman this week.
As police prepare to increase their presence, they encourage Sonoma County residents to remain vigilant and not let the violence discourage them from visiting parks across the community.
“We do believe parks are overall safe,” Santa Rosa police Sgt. Chris Mahurin said. “It seems like they’re targeted shootings. For the motivation, we’re still investigating,”
The recent shootings began toward the end of May and four have occurred at parks: Dutch Flohr Park, Comstock Park, Andy Lopez Unity Park and, most recently, Bayer Park & Gardens.
Patrols will focus on those parks, as well as others across the city, like Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park and Pioneer Park.
Investigators haven’t identified links between the shootings and haven’t ruled out the number of incidents at parks being a coincidence. But that could change as more information develops, the sergeant said.
As of Thursday, detectives were still interviewing the 30-year-old Petaluma woman who was shot just before 3 p.m. Wednesday at Bayer Park & Gardens.
She was standing outside her car when she was wounded, police said.
Authorities haven’t determined whether she had been with acquaintances leading up to the gunfire but it appears she was targeted.
The woman was still in critical condition Thursday, but Mahurin said, “It looks like she’s going to survive, which is great.”
Officers swarmed the area following the shooting, but the police presence was gone by Thursday afternoon and all was calm at the park near West Avenue and Rose Meadow Court.
“It looked the same as it ever did before (the shooting), so I didn’t have a problem hanging out,” Santa Rosa resident Jesse Stone, 19, said as he rode a skateboard through Bayer Park. “Been here for awhile and only seen old people and kids.”
In the days after the shootings, the other parks also showed no signs of violence as parkgoers went about their business.
On Wednesday, for example, a group of boys played basketball at Unity Park where Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting on May 30. The boys, who were the only ones present Wednesday afternoon, said they were unaware a shooting had occurred.
Suspects have been arrested in the shootings at Unity Park and Comstock Park, but police continue to investigate the one at Dutch Flohr Park.
Three other shootings took place at locations other than parks since May 21 and investigators are trying to identify suspects in two of them.
They include a May 30 shooting involving a victim who was shot during an argument in a parking lot near Fifth and Davis streets, and a June 1 car-to-car shooting on Burbank Avenue.
None of those shootings were fatal.
You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.