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3 teens arrested, weapons found following large gang-related brawl in Santa Rosa

Students demand better safety measures at Montgomery High after fatal stabbing
Students demand better safety measures at Montgomery High after fatal stabbing 02:01

SANTA ROSA – Three teens were arrested and weapons were recovered after police said a large brawl between two rival gangs took place in Santa Rosa on Thursday.

According to police, officers were called to the Santa Rosa Transit Mall on Second Street around 4:30 p.m. following reports of a fight involving at least 18 juveniles.

Witnesses said the teens were wearing gang-related clothing, displayed gang signs and yelled gang terms at one another. One of the teens was also seen with a handgun.

"The bystanders stated he was seen pulling the gun from his waistband and racking the slide as if to move a bullet into the firearm's chamber, before returning the gun to his waistband," police said in a statement.

Before officers arrived, the teens fled in multiple directions, with one group running into the nearby Santa Rosa Plaza shopping center. Two officers who were patrolling the mall at the time found two of the teens hiding behind a large piece of furniture in a store.

Both teens were detained. Police said one of the teens, a 15-year-old male from Santa Rosa, had a loaded and unserialized Polymer80 semiautomatic "ghost gun" in his waistband. A second teen, also a 15-year-old male from Santa Rosa, was not found to be armed.

Gun that police said was found following a gang-related brawl in Santa Rosa on November 30, 2023. Santa Rosa Police Department

Meanwhile a third teen, a 15-year-old male from Santa Rosa, led a third officer on a foot chase outside the mall and back into the store where the other two teens were detained. The teen was eventually detained and a knife was found, police said.

According to officers, the third teen had been arrested in September after running from the scene of a traffic stop. Police said he had discarded a bag containing a loaded and unserialized Polymer80 semi-automatic firearm in that incident.

All three suspects are facing charges of disturbance of the peace and participation in a criminal street gang. One of the suspects is also facing a charge of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in public, while the third suspect is also facing a charge of resisting arrest.

Their names have not been released due to their ages.

The fight happened a day after Santa Rosa police responded to two incidents involving knives at high schools, one of which resulted in a gang-related fight and stabbing.

On Wednesday morning, police said a 14-year-old student at Santa Rosa High School was stabbed near the school's baseball field. The victim and the suspect are alleged to be members of rival gangs.

The suspect, a 16-year-old male, was arrested several hours later and booked into juvenile hall. Police said the victim was treated at the hospital for lacerations and was later released.

Also on Wednesday, a 14-year-old student at Montgomery High School was booked into juvenile hall after police said he was found with a knife in his backpack.

Students bringing knives to campus has been an ongoing issue in Santa Rosa, with multiple teens being taken into custody and students protesting over campus safety.

In early March, a 16-year-old student at Montgomery High was fatally stabbed by a 15-year-old classmate. Earlier this week, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported a judge ruled that the teen arrested in the case was not responsible for the teen's death.

According to police, 21 juveniles have been arrested for possessing firearms so far this year, up from four in 2022.

In its statement Friday, the department credited foot patrols in preventing the fight from escalating further. Police said that foot patrols would continue in downtown, Santa Rosa Plaza, Railroad Square and other retail areas during the rest of the holiday season.

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