Shots fired between rival gang members in a neighborhood in western Santa Rosa Thursday night left one 19-year-old man dead and another 19-year-old man wounded, according to police.
Gang members were standing in front of a residence known to police on the 2300 block of Lemur Street when members from a rival gang drove up in a blue Nissan Sentra around 8:23 p.m., sparking an argument and then a gunfight, said Santa Rosa Police Lt. John Cregan.
“This was solely a gang rivalry,” Cregan said of the motive behind the shootings.
Juan Angel Rivera, 19, of Santa Rosa was hit by gunfire in the head while inside the Sentra and was rushed to Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital, where his gang mates dumped his unresponsive body on the sidewalk before driving away, Cregan said. He died of his wounds Friday, marking the first homicide in Santa Rosa city limits this year.
Another 19-year-old man who lived in the Lemur Street home, just north of Highway 12, was shot in the arm but not seriously injured, Cregan said. He was taken by others at the scene to the Sutter hospital in a Chevrolet Camaro, which was tailed to the hospital by police, who said the driver refused to stop. The occupants were detained by officers when it arrived at the hospital.
The hospital was placed on lockdown and the two shooting victims were transported to another facility for treatment, said Sutter Health spokesman Shaun Ralston.
The man who survived was released from treatment by Friday morning, Cregan said. He was not arrested.
Police on Thursday night obtained a search warrant and detained multiple people from the Lemur Street home and brought them in for questioning, Cregan said. One gun was found in front of the house and another inside.
On Friday about 1:10 p.m., detectives with the gang unit, acting on a separate search warrant, detained nine people in a SWAT action at a home in the 4300 block of Stony Point Road.
The home, about 4 miles south of the Lemur Street residence, was identified as a law enforcement target after a blue Nissan Sentra with bullet holes was spotted outside, Cregan said. Two firearms were found in the home, he said.
No arrests were reported as of Friday evening, and no suspects from the Lemur Street home were in custody, Cregan said. People from the Stony Point home were detained and being interviewed by detectives, he said. Police were still trying to determine the number of shooters and shots fired.
“This is a complicated case where rival gang members shot at each other,” Cregan said.
Cregan would not name the gangs suspected in the shooting but did note that the Norteños and Sureños are the largest criminal gangs in Santa Rosa.
A neighbor of the Lemur Street house said he heard about six or seven shots Thursday night.
“I came out here and saw a bunch of young guys scrambling into a Camaro and drive off,” said the man, who wished to remain anonymous because of the violent nature of the crime.
The neighbor said police had been to the house many times before and that he’s seen a lot of young men in expensive cars coming and going from the home.