Two arraigned in shooting that wounded 4 at Santa Rosa park
Two Santa Rosa men jailed after a brazen shooting that injured a child and three men at a busy Santa Rosa city park were arraigned Monday with a single charge of being an accessory to attempted murder and assault with a firearm.
The charge indicates prosecutors suspect Michael Beltran, 23, and Lukas Cortina, 19, knew about the shooting and helped the 17-year-old suspected gunman flee Sonoma County in a getaway car stopped by deputies one day after gunfire shattered a busy summer evening at Jacobs Park in west Santa Rosa.
A Rohnert Park teen identified in court documents as Edward B. is suspected of firing at least 10 rounds at a 21-year-old man he'd just encountered at the park.
Bullets struck the man and three others, including an 11-year-old child.
All but the 21-year-old man, who remains hospitalized after being wounded by a bullet that went through his chest, have been treated for their injuries and released from the hospital, Santa Rosa police Lt. Ryan Corcoran said.
Edward B. is scheduled to face attempted murder charges in Sonoma County's juvenile court Tuesday morning.
Hundreds of people were at the park that night for community soccer games as the violent encounter unfolded about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Someone in an SUV that had been driving up and down West Ninth Street that evening yelled a gang challenge out the window at a 21-year-old man — demanding to know if he 'gang banged' — who was walking near the park with friends on a West Ninth Street sidewalk, according to police.
The 21-year-old man said no, police said.
The unidentified driver of the SUV pulled forward and stopped near the corner of West Ninth Street and Link Lane.
The 21-year-old man had been walking in that direction, and he argued with people in the SUV, according to police.
The Rohnert Park teen got out of the SUV and 'aggressively' confronted him, first with words then with a semiautomatic handgun, police said.
The 21-year-old man turned to run and the teen opened fire, officials said.
Bullets hit him and three bystanders:
An 11-year-old soccer player walking to a parked car.
A 46-year-old youth sports coach getting gear to his car.
A 20-year-old man who had just arrived for a game.
Police said all are expected to survive.
In Sonoma County Superior Court Monday, Cortina and Beltran were seated in separate rows among about two dozen defendants wearing blue jail clothes awaiting hearings in Judge Mark Urioste's courtroom.
Beltran was also charged with misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer, according to the criminal complaint.
Police said Beltran 'smashed a cellular phone into multiple pieces before surrendering' after the three were pulled over and arrested in Mendocino County.
In an interview after the hearing, Cortina's lawyer disputed the charge and said his client 'knew nothing about the shooting.'
'What he's accused of is being contacted by some people and helping some people dispose of a firearm and helping them leave the area,' said his attorney Evan Zelig.
Zelig said Cortina, who was arrested with Edward B. and Beltran in Mendocino County on Thursday, was not present during the shooting and 'his knowledge (of the incident) was extremely limited.'
Beltran was assigned a new attorney to appear on his behalf at the next hearing. Neither man entered a plea.
Urioste ordered them to appear before a different judge Wednesday after stating that he must recuse himself from hearing the case.
As a former deputy district attorney, Urioste helped prosecute Beltran after his 2015 arrest for assaulting a peace officer in 2015 that led to a misdemeanor conviction.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.