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40+ officers involved in gang sweep in west Santa Rosa

Four teen-age gang suspects were arrested Thursday in a west Santa Rosa sweep stemming from recent assaults and threats to residents, police said.

Over the last two months Santa Rosa Police responded to several calls of gang participants fighting, drinking, using drugs and intimidating residents in the area of West 9th Street, Rockwell Place and Simpson Place, Police Sgt. Eric Goldschlag said in a statement released Thursday. Goldschlag supervises gang crime investigations in Santa Rosa. The area is frequented by a Sureño criminal street gang and most of the gang live in the area, according to the statement.

The sweep resulted from an investigation into four incidents, including one on Jan. 5 that police described as a gang assault of four people who said they had made a wrong turn into in the area. Police said as many as 20 Sureños attacked the four on Rockwell Place, believing they were from a rival gang because of the red clothing they were wearing, Goldschlag said. Three were left bleeding and one was taken to a hospital.

The other incidents were a Dec. 28 stabbing on Rockwell Place that sent two residents to a hospital, a Dec. 19 report of multiple gunshots near West 9th Street and Link Lane that included a bullet hole in a car, and a Dec. 3 report that a passenger in a vehicle pointed a pistol at a 13-year-old walking home from the store at West 9th Street and Link Lane.

By interviewing witnesses and suspects and reviewing evidence, detectives identified 12 suspects, all of whom are believed to be Sureño gang members, Goldschlag said.

A sheriff’s helicopter and more than 35 public safety officers from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, CHP and county probation assisted Santa Rosa police in serving nine search warrants and making arrests in the day-long operation.

They arrested Eleazar Aguilera, 18, of Santa Rosa on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and a gang enhancement. The names of three others, ages 14, 15 and 17, were not disclosed because they are juveniles.

Aguilera was booked into Sonoma County Jail and the minors into Juvenile Hall. A 17-year-old arrested on Dec. 28 also is in custody. Police said they were searching for seven more suspects.

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