Man beaten to death in Santa Rosa identified

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The man who was killed in a suspected fight over a bicycle last week in Santa Rosa was identified Monday by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers found the body of Derrick Young, a 50-year-old homeless man, Thursday night in a littered parking lot behind an auto repair business at 950 Piner Road. A woman at the nearby El Brinquito Restaurant had called 911 at about 9:40 p.m. and reported seeing a man “beaten with a stick,” police said.

Authorities said Young lived in a tent nearby on a trail nestled behind a portion of Piner Road that runs along Russell Creek.

Outreach workers with Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit homeless services provider, met with Young in the area in recent months. They described him as a mentor for others who were homeless, said Jennielynn Holmes, the nonprofit’s senior director of shelter and housing.

“Whenever they engaged with him, he was always very pleasant,” Holmes said. “He was known as a go-to guy to solve issues or help others get connected (with services).”

Two suspects were arrested in his death, the first identified as William Armister Amons, 62, of San Francisco.

Police said Amons was seen riding a bicycle near a 7-Eleven about a half-mile west of where Young was killed. Officers stopped Amons after realizing he matched the description of a suspect seen fighting with Young. He also had injuries that suggested he was in a recent fight, police said.

Officers interviewed several people who were living in parked cars along the back lot of the auto shop, leading them to search for a second man, identified as Solomon Asgedom Fret, 55, of Santa Rosa, police said.

Police said the fatal beating occurred after Fret and Amons accused Young of stealing a bicycle and an argument between them escalated. Authorities believe the three knew each other from living on the streets, Santa Rosa police Lt. John Cregan said.

Amons was arrested moments after police responded to the attack, while Fret was spotted at about 5:45 a.m. the following day near the 7-Eleven. Police believe Fret lived in a tent behind the store.

Amons and Fret are set to appear at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Catholic Charities plans to bring in counseling services into its shelters to help anyone who knew Young or may have been impacted by his death, Holmes said.

“For us, it’s about dealing with the heightened emotions that people there might be feeling,” Holmes said. “It flares up.”

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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