Santa Rosa gang members plead no contest in attempted murder case

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Two Santa Rosa street gang members have plead no contest to gang‑related attempted murder for a 2016 shooting of a rival who’d cooperated with police on a stabbing investigation, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Gustavo Alex Castillo, 25 and Salvador Flores Jr., 19, were arrested Aug. 28, 2016, suspected of wounding a 22‑year‑old after they spotted him in a parked car in a west Santa Rosa neighborhood. Castillo and Flores, then 17, approached the car and from a few feet fired five rounds through the windshield, hitting the victim twice. The violence was retaliation for police cooperation on a gang‑related stabbing that sent a Sureño gang member to prison, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Castillo and Flores are active members of the Puro Sureño Cholo, part of the larger criminal gang, according to prosecutors.

The night of the shooting Santa Rosa police arrested the two and a third suspect. The third suspect earlier agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and is awaiting sentencing.

When arrested in 2016, Castillo was on parole and Flores was on probation, both for gang‑related crimes.

A “no contest” plea is tantamount to a guilty plea, without admitting guilt.

The agreement gives Flores a 15‑year‑to‑life term plus three years for using a gun. Castillo faces a 21‑year prison term. The pair will be sentenced on May 8 by Sonoma County Judge Dana Simonds.

“We’re glad to see those using guns are being held accountable,” said Santa Rosa police Sgt. Tommy Isachsen, who supervises gang crime investigations. “We’ve had such an influx of firearms-related incidents recently, especially by our gang members.”

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