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Santa Rosa juvenile arrests for gun possession soar by 500%, police say

PIX Now morning edition 12-2-23
PIX Now morning edition 12-2-23 08:00

The number of juveniles arrested in possession of firearms has soared 500 percent this year, say Santa Rosa police who blame an increase in gang violence.

So far this year, 21 youths have been arrested for possessing guns, compared with just four in 2022, police said Friday. Five of Santa Rosa's nine homicides this year have been gang-related, police said. 

One gun arrest occurred Thursday when a group of teens, fleeing from a fight about 4:30 p.m. involving about 18 people from rival gangs, ran into a retail store at Santa Rosa Plaza, police said.

Officers chasing the juveniles found two teens hiding behind a large piece of furniture in the store, police said. 

One of the teens, a 15-year-old boy from Santa Rosa, had a loaded semi-automatic homemade 9 mm firearm, commonly referred to as a "ghost gun," concealed in his waistband, police said. 

Another teen, also a Santa Rosa boy aged 15, who ran separately into the store was found to have a knife in his waistband, police said. 

The juvenile in possession of the knife was arrested in September, after he ran away from a traffic enforcement stop and discarded a bag containing a loaded semi-automatic ghost gun, police said.

And on Wednesday, an arrest of a 16-year-old in a knife attack at Santa Rosa High School led officers to recover a lower receiver of a privately manufactured ghost gun. 

Police believe the attack began as an argument between rival gang members. The 14-year-old victim was taken to a hospital and released the same day for lacerations on his torso.

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