Police arrested a young man and four teenagers after they shot at a group of juveniles in San Juan Bautista, resulting in injuries to an innocent bystander Wednesday night, according to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators think the shooting was gang-related.
About 7:35pm April 1, five people in a red Nissan Rogue were traveling on Fifth Street when the driver, Brian Moreno, passed a group of juveniles walking in the area of Polk Street, according to Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Taylor. Moreno performed a u-turn and drove back toward the juveniles.
As the Nissan passed the group, a male juvenile extended his arm out of the window and fired nine shots at the group as they ran away, authorities said. Several bullets struck a home, and some rounds entered the residence. One of the residents inside was hit by a bullet and was transported to a local trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Soon after the shooting, two California State Park rangers—who heard the shots fired—arrived at the crime scene. Hollister Fire Department personnel also arrived. “It was due to this rapid response that a ‘be on the lookout’ was broadcast for the Nissan,” Taylor said in a press release.
Hearing the broadcast, Hollister Police officers strategically “self-deployed” to locations where they thought the suspect vehicle might enter the city limits, authorities said. Officer Bryce Morgan located the Nissan as it turned onto Union Road from eastbound Highway 156. He conducted a traffic stop on the car, which was still occupied by the five suspects.
Numerous Hollister Police officers and sheriff’s deputies assisted with the high-risk traffic stop, which took place at Union Road and Geneil Court, police said. The stop resulted in the arrest, without further incident, of Moreno, 19, of Hollister. Also arrested were four 17-year-old suspects: three males and one female.
A search of the Nissan found a Ruger handgun and several shell casings, police said.
All five suspects were booked at San Benito County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child endangerment and participation in a street gang, according to the sheriff’s office. The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our partners at California State Parks, Hollister Fire Department and the Hollister Police Department,” reads the sheriff’s press release. “Without their assistance, this case would not have been solved in the rapid manner it was. Hollister Police were instrumental in locating the suspects moments after the shooting occurred. It is only through the selfless cooperation of our partners that we are able to come together to solve these cases.”
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, authorities said.