By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hayward Police clear Manteca bar with automatic weapons drawn
HomicidesChaseDSC 0119a
Hayward detectives stand across the street from the Starlite Room bar in the 100 block of South El Portal Avenue with their weapons at the ready. Officers said they witnessed a Hispanic parolee at large, duck into the back of the building’s storage area as they were chasing him shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Seven patrons of the Starlite Room were ordered out of that Manteca bar Tuesday afternoon by a cadre of nearly a dozen Hayward Police  and Department of Justice officers that had surrounded the West Yosemite Avenue lounge with automatic weapons trained on the doors of the Lincoln Center business.

Officers had tracked the wanted suspect from their Bay Area community to a Manteca neighborhood.  Parolee-at-large Ruben Chavez was reportedly sought for questioning in at least two homicide investigations and one weapons charge - one near San Francisco and the other in Las Vegas.

Hayward officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on their suspect in the 800 block of Marion Street shortly after 4 p.m., when Chavez reportedly bolted from the residence and disappeared running from the police.

Detectives blocked the 100 block of El Portal Avenue near the front door of the lounge with their police cars parking them on angles in the middle of the street to prevent traffic from nearing the building where he was believed to be  holed up inside.   Neighbors were drawn to their front yards after hearing the activity and were taking pictures with their cell phones of the police action.

Described as a 32-year-old, balding Hispanic male, wearing a black hoodie, standing five-foot-9 and weighing 190 pounds, with multiple tattoos, police soon caught up with him in a moving vehicle that they followed into an alley off of El Portal Avenue near the rear of the Starlite Room. It was some three blocks from the Marion Street residence.  

The fugitive was said to have bailed out of a white sedan that was driven through the alley by an unidentified woman.  Police units immediately stopped her car and placed her in handcuffs behind Hafer’s Furniture Store with charges pending for allegedly harboring a fugitive.   

Believing the suspect was actually held up in the Starlite Room, detectives with automatic weapons took up positions across the street from the bar located in the 100 block of El Portal Avenue – just south of Yosemite Avenue.  

Three officers wearing military style helmets laid prone on El Portal next to their cars with their weapons at the ready and three others were spotted on the sidewalk with their guns trained on the front door of the establishment.  Half a dozen additional officers took positions behind the rear delivery door of the business as they prepared to launch their room to room high risk search.  

Police seen staging behind an armored shield first entered the alley access door following a police dog that was initially sent into the building.  Finding nothing in what amounted to store rooms, the team regrouped and massed through the front door of the bar facing El Portal Avenue.  Again they were unable to locate the parolee.

Bartender Jana Miller said, that from her vantage point in the lounge, she had a clear view of the back of the business, saying that no one entered at the time police lost sight of the man.   She said she was shocked when officers entered her bar and ordered her to put her hands up.  

Owner of the Starlite Room, Michael Gonzalez, said he reviewed his security surveillance tape after the officers allowed him to return to the building.  The time was 4:16 p.m., he said, and the only entry seen on the tape was made by an employee who had walked out the door as he was getting ice for the bartender, turned around and reentered the building.

Gonzales said he invited all of his displaced patrons to come back for a free drink on him.  He added that four returned – and the other three – well, he expects to see them later.

The Hayward Police Department public information officer, as well as the watch commander, did not return telephone calls as of press time as the officers were preparing to serve a search warrant on the Marion Street address where they were believed to be looking for more weapons.