Santa Rosa man accused of attempted murder in gang shooting pleads not guilty
A Santa Rosa man accused of firing a gun at a driver during an apparent gang-related shooting in the city’s Roseland area last month on Tuesday pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court to attempted murder and other felony charges, the county district attorney’s office said.
Joseph Luna, 29, was one of five men arrested last week in connection with the July 18 shooting in the 700 block of Sebastopol Road near El Roy’s taco truck, though he’s suspected of being the lone gunman, said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Justin Farrington, who oversees the department’s gang crimes unit.
The suspects are known to Santa Rosa gang detectives as members of a local Norteño street gang through prior arrests or investigations, Farrington said. They were identified in the investigation of the recent shooting via surveillance footage retrieved from a nearby business.
Three of the other four men — Jonah Colon, 19, Adrian Liscano, 18, and Cody Dawe, 30 — also entered not guilty pleas during Tuesday’s court hearing. Each of the three was charged with a felony of challenging a person to fight in public plus a gang enhancement, court records show. All four men will return to county court on Sept. 13, said Joan Croft, a spokeswoman for District Attorney’s Office. The fifth suspect, Adrian Maxwell, 18, did not appear in court Tuesday, and it’s unclear why prosecutors have not charged him.
Investigators suspect the shooting occurred after Colon appeared to recognize a driver, or possibly his car, while it was stopped at a red light about 9 p.m. on July 18 at the West Avenue and Sebastopol Road intersection, Farrington said.
Colon approached the car and “verbally engaged the driver,” drawing the attention of the remaining four men including Luna, Farrington said.
“The driver of the vehicle opens his door, exits it and that’s when all five (men) start to try to run toward the victim,” Farrington said, adding that the driver then got back into his car and drove west on Sebastopol Road. “It appears in the video footage that (Luna) produces a gun from his waistband and fires it toward the vehicle.”
Police suspect Luna fled on foot while the other four men — Colon and Santa Rosa residents Dawe, Maxwell and Liscano — took off in cars, Farrington said.
By the time officers arrived at the scene, they found bullet casings in the street but no gunshot victims. Minutes after the gunfire was reported, Santa Rosa police got a call from a man, the apparent victim, who said his car was shot up, Farrington said.
Luna was taken into custody last week when Santa Rosa SWAT team officers served a search warrant at his home on the 1600 block of Mathwig Drive near Dutton Avenue in Roseland. Once inside, officers found evidence of him selling narcotics, including a couple of ounces of methamphetamine and cocaine, a digital scale and reusable plastic bags, Farrington said. Body armor, ammunition and handgun magazines also were located.
He was booked into Sonoma County Jail and the District Attorney’s Office charged him on Thursday with six felonies, including the attempted murder charge, two charges of shooting into an occupied vehicle and possession of narcotics for sale, court records show. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Separately, Luna’s father, Rene Luna, 47, also was arrested at the home when officers found a handgun, shotgun and ammunition in his possession despite being a felon, which prohibits him from owning those items. Investigators do not believe any of the weapons found in the Luna home were used in the shooting last month, Farrington said, describing that weapon as a .45 caliber semi- automatic handgun that has not been located.
Dawe was arrested later on Thursday in the 100 block of Bellevue Avenue, near Corby Avenue. Liscano, Maxwell and Colon were arrested in Petaluma hours later after undercover detectives spotted a car in Santa Rosa that matched a vehicle four of the suspects were seen driving to the scene of the July 18 shooting prior to the gunfire.
The younger Luna and Dawe remained in jail Tuesday, each ineligible for bail, court records show. Liscano was granted pretrial release on Thursday. Colon was no longer in custody as of Tuesday, according to the court and jail records.
You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @nashellytweets.