Saturday, November 17, 2007

Butcher knife used in assault


When five known gang members stopped at the USA Gas station on Carrillo Street yesterday, one of the men saw a person he thought was a rival gang member and attacked the man with a butcher knife, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department said.
The victim managed to escape the assault just before police arrived on the scene, but a chase ensued for all of the involved parties and the victim was the only one who successfully evaded the police.

Lt. Paul McCaffrey said police arrested Enrique Moran, 20, Francisco Alcaraz, 20, Jason Odale, 21 and a 15-year-old for allegedly committing a variety of crimes that surrounded the assault.
McCaffrey said the raucous afternoon began to unfold when Moran took his girlfriend’s vehicle without permission. He said Moran, Alcaraz and Odale picked up the 15-year-old and an unidentified 19-year-old on Milpas Street before going to Odale’s house on the Mesa.
“They bought beer, drove to Odales’ residence on the Mesa, and picked up a few handfuls of loose change to buy some marijuana,” McCaffrey said.
He said the five stopped at the gas station at 1:40 p.m. to trade the loose change in for bills, but while Odale and Moran were in the store, Alcaraz spotted the unidentified victim walking through the parking lot.
“Alcaraz jumped out of the car with the butcher knife and confronted him,” McCaffrey said. “Witnesses described the victim falling down and Alcaraz standing over him, stabbing downwards.”
When the suspects jumped into the car to flee, McCaffrey said two officers who were patrolling the area saw the victim running up San Andres Street.
He said one officer exited the car to chase after the victim, while the officer in the patrol car chased after the suspects in the vehicle.
McCaffrey said the officer chasing the victim abandoned that attempt at some point and flagged down a passing vehicle.
“This unknown driver, with Officer Cruz as passenger, followed in line behind Officer Kushner, who was following the suspect vehicle,” McCaffrey said.
He said the suspect vehicle lost control and ran partially off the road at San Pascual and Figueroa Streets, where the officers managed to detain two suspects and recover the butcher knife, but the other three briefly escaped.
“Police quickly coordinated a tight perimeter between the freeway, train tracks, and a drainage culvert,” McCaffrey said. “Two suspects were flushed from a large drain pipe that runs beneath Highway 101.”
The third suspect escaped, but was later found at his residence on the 300 block of East Anapamu St. McCaffrey said this suspect had already changed his clothes and shaved his mustache and beard.
“Detectives noticed a prominent shaving nick,” he said.
As police were searching for the final suspect, McCaffrey said Moran’s girlfriend called police to report her vehicle as stolen.
Moran was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, auto theft, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license. Alcaraz was arrested for similar crimes, including committing a crime in furtherance of a street gang. Odale and the 15-year-old were both arrested and the 19-year-old was questioned and released.
McCaffrey said anyone with information is urged to contact Sgt. Bernie Gaona at 897-2339.

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