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Cops arrest gang members

Bullets strike two cars, house

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Cops arrest gang members

A '90s Thunderbird was hit by gunfire Monday afternoon in the 400 block of Greenbrier Avenue. Sgt. Jodie Estarziau, Detective Wayne Miller and Officer Richard Smigelski are seen in the background.

GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin/


POSTED April 13, 2010 3:18 a.m.
Two illegal aliens and Serrano gang members were captured by a police detective Monday afternoon after they scaled three backyard fences. He took them down at gun point following a shooting in the 400 block of Greenbrier Avenue.

Manteca Police Sgt. Tony Souza was watching the men flee from a high vantage point in a yard on Elm Street to the east.  He ordered the men to the ground at gun point as they came over a third fence coming within 40 feet of where he was standing.  He cuffed one and waited for backup from patrol officers Ken Wells and Richard Smigelski to take the second brother into custody.

Monday was a low staffing day with only four officers being assigned to street patrol for the entire city.  Sgt. Jody Estarziau served as watch commander and organized the police response to the neighborhood.

Sgt. Souza said, as he observed the men running through back yards, he could see them hiding something in a corner of one area where officers later discovered the weapon tucked into a pile of tires.  It was described as a Mac 11 – a hand-held machine gun.

Hector Gonzales, 18, and his brother Luis, 20 – both illegal aliens and Serrano gang members – were identified by witnesses as the responsibles in firing a handgun at a motorist and his passenger.  The shots came from a residence at 420 Greenbrier Avenue.  Responding officers had immediately set up a perimeter with yellow crime scene tape, as well as with patrol cars,  in an attempt to keep the suspects from leaving the area.

Witnesses said it was Hector who actually fired the weapon hitting two parked vehicles across the street as two other shots struck the side of a home.

Officers first on the scene cleared several residences before they advanced on the men’s duplex.   As the police were in the house the duo slipped into the back yard where they scaled the fence to get away from police.

The motorist told police that he had driven south on Greenbrier Avenue from the north following an incident with the men.  He had turned around to go back in a northerly direction to return to his home when the two men ran toward his vehicle and fired their weapon.  He drove to his residence half a dozen houses to the north where he armed himself with a shotgun going back outside, a witness said.

One resident on the other side of the street said, “This has to stop.  We have at least three shootings a week in this neighborhood with children playing out in the street all the time.”

He added that he had been standing in his doorway when he heard five shots ring out telling his two-year-old son and his parents to run to the back of the house for their safety.  “We need to get this fixed,” he said of the continued shootings.

While the four officers on street patrol were first trying to get a handle on the call, a sedan with four juveniles drove slowly down the middle of the street near where officer Bill Walmer was stationed with an automatic weapon.

The motorist who had been shot at yelled that the occupants of the vehicle were involved with the shooters on a daily basis.  Officers halted the vehicle and demanded that the occupants, three males and a female get out of the car one at a time.

They were searched and asked to sit on the nearby curbing until officers could be sure they weren’t involved – not knowing the extent of the neighborhood involvement.

The Manteca Police SWAT team – made up mostly of off-duty officers – later responded to the residence having to clear a garage behind the suspect duplex apartment and found no one else hiding there.

The men are being held in San Joaquin County Jail without bail because they are illegal aliens, police said.  They are being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm in the city, conspiracy, being members of a criminal street gang and being gang members in possession of a firearm.

Had the “no bail” provision not been enacted, the bond required to release a documented gang member is $250,000.

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