Friday, 24 May 2024

Kelseyville teen arrested on murder charge

SANTA ROSA – A Kelseyville teenager has been arrested on a murder charge for the death of a young Santa Rosa resident.


The Santa Rosa Police Department reported that they arrested the 17-year-old male – whose name was not released due to his age – on Wednesday. He is alleged to have murdered Luis Suarez, 18, on Monday.


Police are continuing their investigation of the shooting and the motivations behind it, including the possibility that it's gang-related.


However, Sgt. Lisa Banayat told Lake County News, “I cannot say for sure that it's a gang crime.”


Just after 9:30 p.m. Monday Santa Rosa Police received a call of shots fired in the area of Grand and Pressley avenues. Callers also advised 911 dispatchers that a person had been shot and was on the ground.


Officers located Suarez with gunshot wounds in the 1000 block of Grand Avenue. Ambulance personnel had also been summoned, and determined Suarez already was deceased.


Detectives from the Violent Crime and Gang Crime Investigations Teams have been interviewing suspects and witnesses, as well as following leads from the public regarding this case.


On Wednesday, officers stopped a car they believed to be connected to the case at Santa Rosa Avenue and Court Street.


Two subjects in the car – the 17-year-old Kelseyville resident and Fernando Mendoza, 20, of Santa Rosa – were detained for questioning.


Police later arrested the Kelseyville teen for murder and transported him to the Juvenile Justice Center.


Mendoza was arrested on a parole violation and booked at the Sonoma County Jail.


Banayat said Suarez knew some gang members, but she didn't yet have verification on whether or not the Kelseyville teenager is himself a gang member.


She said the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office is deciding this week if it will prosecute the teen as an adult. If it does his name will be released.


Banayat added that she had no information about the teenager's criminal history, and wouldn't be able to release that information if she did.


The Sonoma County Alliance’s “Take Back Our Community” program has offered a $2,500 reward for anyone who provides information to the Santa Rosa Police that facilitates the arrest of the involved suspect(s).


Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Bradley Conners of the Santa Rosa Police Department’s Violent Crimes Team at 707-543-3590.

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