Four injured in west Santa Rosa park gang shooting
The gunfire that shattered a warm spring night at a busy Santa Rosa park was a brazen gang-related attack by a single gunman targeting a lone individual, but it unleashed a hail of bullets that struck three others, including an 11‑year‑old soccer player and a youth coach.
New details emerged Thursday about the scope of Wednesday evening’s violence that spilled over from West Ninth Street into Jacobs Park, where hundreds of people were enjoying an otherwise routine night playing and practicing soccer.
Santa Rosa police detectives and officers continued investigating but no arrests were reported as of Thursday night.
The three wounded bystanders — the boy and two men, 45 and 20 — were at the park to play soccer but became caught in the 10 or so rounds aimed at a man fleeing down a West Ninth Street sidewalk. The shooting occurred after gang‑related comments were exchanged between the man and the shooter, who was in an SUV with at least one other person, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Ryan Corcoran said.
All four victims were hit by a single bullet, Corcoran said.
The intended victim, a 21-year-old man, suffered a serious back wound but improved Thursday and is now expected to survive, Corcoran said.
The three others are also expected to recover. The 20‑year‑old was treated for a grazing shot to his back and released but the others remained hospitalized Thursday. The boy suffered a pelvis injury and the 45‑year‑old man was hit in his calf.
Police initially didn’t know about a fourth victim until the 20-year-old man sought medical treatment hours after being wounded. The gunfire erupted about 7:35 p.m. on the edge of the park, which was teeming with people coming and going for youth soccer practice and adult scrimmages.
It sent bystanders ducking for cover behind a row of cars parked along the street.
Police called to the park, next to Lincoln Elementary School in west Santa Rosa, found three injured people and many people fleeing. The shooter and driver, in a dark‑colored SUV, had left the neighborhood.
Santa Rosa’s police chief Thursday called the attack an “oh my God event,” referring to the shock expressed by many at the number of victims wounded during a daylight shooting in an area filled with bystanders.
“It’s fairly brazen, in the middle of the park with multiple people at soccer events,” Chief Hank Schreeder said. “Typically with gang crime, gang members attack another gang member.
“It’s not often you have this,” he said. “Thankfully, even though those people were hurt, they weren’t more seriously hurt.”
In 2005, Josh Inong, along with his mother and four Elsie Allen High School classmates, was shot while in the yard of his South Davis Street home by two hooded gunmen after a graduation party.
The gunmen had stepped out of the shadows and opened fire as the teens returned home. Inong’s mom was inside the house, but also was hit in the ambush. All six survived the attack, which investigators called gang-related, though none of the victims had gang ties.
Police at the time said the shooting may have stemmed from a confrontation at another party.
Wednesday’s shooting puts a spotlight on gang violence but Schreeder said overall, the problem has lessened in the last two decades when a series of gang homicides and assaults prompted citizens to support a tax measure aimed at increasing anti‑gang initiatives.