Second suspect arrested in gang assault

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Octavio Sanchez has been charged in a July 4 gang-related assault in Lakeport. Lake County Sheriff's booking photo.

 

LAKEPORT – A second suspect has been arrested in connection with a gang-motivated assault on a 14-year-old boy in Lakeport on July 4.


Lakeport Police Lt. Brad Rasmussen said investigators identified Ukiah resident Octavio Juan Sanchez, 20, as one of the subjects responsible for the assault, which took place as the 14-year-old and his brother walked along 11th Street.


Sanchez, Rasmussen reported, is a documented Norteno gang member with an extensive criminal history record, including prior arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, making threats, possession of a dangerous weapon and participating in a criminal street gang.


He's currently on parole with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for possessing drugs in a jail or prison, Rasmussen said.


Rasmussen explained that Lakeport Police sent their report on Sanchez to the District Attorney's Office on Wednesday. On Thursday, the District Attorney's Office filed a complaint on Sanchez that included charges for assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury, child abuse and criminal street gang enhancements.


The problem was, although police had Sanchez in their sites as a suspect, they were still trying to find him when the case was filed, said Rasmussen.


Then, just after midnight early Friday morning, the California Highway Patrol came across Sanchez after they found him during a traffic stop. He was acting strangely, said Rasmussen, so CHP arrested him for public intoxication and took him to the Lake County Jail on a parole hold.


“We don't know what he was doing in Kelseyville last night,” Rasmussen said on Friday.


Officer served the arrest warrant on Sanchez in the Lake County Jail Friday afternoon, according to Rasmussen.


Rasmussen said gang investigators from Ukiah helped Lakeport Police identify Sanchez. “We've also identified two other Norteno gang members as having been involved,” he added.


Police are still building their case against those individuals, he said, but he anticipates more arrests are in the works.


Sanchez and the other two Ukiah residents are members of the Aztec Cholos – or ATC – that are a Nortenos subgroup, said Rasmussen.


The three suspects have a connection to a 16-year-old male juvenile, also a documented Norteno gang member with an extensive arrest history, who was arrested not long after the incident for assault with a deadly weapon, said Rasmussen.


Although authorities don't know why these gang members were traveling back and forth to Lake County, Rasmussen said the gangs tend to be well organized, and are willing to travel to other areas to support each others' activities.


In past years, said Rasmussen, “We've seen examples of Surenos from Los Angeles coming to Lake County,” in order to visit friends and gang connections who had moved here.


The 16-year-old in custody is set to undergo a fitness hearing later this month, with the District Attorney's Office seeking to prosecute him as an adult, as Lake County News previously reported.


Rasmussen said police aren't sure just how many gang members they have in the Lakeport area, but added, “Some of our primary people are in custody.”


Meanwhile, on July 8, the 14-year-old assault victim died suddenly after having been involved in an automobile collision on July 6, just two days after the assault. Rasmussen said the boy's death doesn't change the facts of the case, and won't halt the prosecution continuing.


The investigation also is continuing, with Rasmussen, Det. Norm Taylor and Officers Jarvis Leishman or Destry Henderson working the case.


Police are seeking out additional witnesses to interview them about what they saw on July 4, Rasmussen said. Anyone with information should call Taylor, Leishman or Henderson at Lakeport Police, 263-5491.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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