After a man was shot at a Santa Rosa sideshow yesterday, the city’s interim police chief said that officers are now taking preventative measures.
John Cregan outlined several precautions that can be taken to avert minor disturbances from becoming major disasters.
In one step, he mentioned coordinating a countywide protocol, which is still being developed but was put to the test Thursday night when multiple agencies responded to the gathering at Sebastopol Road and West Avenue.
Cregan, who did not want to go into detail about the protocol, said, “It kind of sent the message we weren’t going to tolerate it last night.”
According to Santa Rosa police, as many as 750 people and 200 vehicles attended the event, and one 22-year-old man was shot multiple times.
After 10 o’clock, the victim was shot multiple times in the legs, according to the police. On Friday morning, he was taken to a local hospital and was listed in critical condition, but police said they still had hope for his survival.
Cregan Reported That There Had Been No Arrests Made In Connection With The Shooting
The response included multiple agencies, including the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the police departments of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park.
According to the Santa Rosa police, who were monitoring intersections during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations on Thursday night, numerous sideshows sprang up across the city.
In addition to the main fair at Sebastopol and West Avenue, there were between three and five smaller sideshows. At about 7:30 p.m., police received reports of a Roseland sideshow, and by 9:30 p.m., hundreds of people had gathered at the intersection to watch.
It was already a busy intersection when the gunfire started. Jennifer Wertz, an Uber driver, was stuck in traffic along with the rest of the commuters. She finally made it to the festivities, which she described as “completely jampacked with vehicles,” after bringing along an unwilling passenger.
Wertz, who is 51 years old, said, “Once I figured out where we were going, I didn’t even want to take her.”
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At approximately 9:15 p.m., she let the passenger out on West Avenue, just south of Sebastopol Road. After Wertz got stuck in traffic while traveling north on Sebastopol Road, he was able to make a U-turn and head back south on West Avenue. You had to turn around “even if you had a smaller car,” Wertz said, “before some guy burning rubber runs into you.”
A Major Issue In Recent Years, Santa Rosa Has Been Plagued By Sideshows
Two young women were hurt in a car accident in September 2020 at Santa Rosa Marketplace, located on Santa Rosa Avenue. The accident occurred during a spontaneous sideshow.
The intersection of Sebastopol Road and West Avenue, once a hotspot for carnivals and other attractions, received a lot of media coverage last year because of the prevalence of sideshows there. Two young women were stabbed at a gathering of this kind.
City officials in Santa Rosa started looking for solutions to the problem of carnivals and other side shows in the area. They did things like install raised dots at Sebastopol and West to discourage speeding and impound vehicles connected to rallies.
Police kept an eye on gatherings from afar and took down license plate numbers. They made vehicle stops and impounds when they could.
Residents have voiced their disapproval of these actions, arguing that police should immediately intervene to stop any sideshows. Authorities, however, have argued that such a response is not only impossible but potentially more dangerous than just letting the shows wind down on their own, due to the large and unpredictable crowds that attend them.
Police say that unexpected sideshows and large crowds make it impossible to keep up with patrols.
Pedroia has expressed a desire for law enforcement to come up with a unified strategy to reduce the occurrence of sideshows.
At 7:30 p.m., residents of the Sebastopol Road and West Avenue area alerted authorities to the presence of a sideshow. About 750 people and more than 200 cars had gathered by 9 o’clock, according to the police.
Officials said that officers were monitoring the situation while “formulating a response” to a large number of onlookers and vehicles that had blocked the intersection.
A victim of gun violence was reported to the police at 10:08 p.m. in the 800 block of Sebastopol Road. The victim, a 22-year-old man, was shot multiple times in the legs and feet. Police say he was taken to a nearby hospital where he is listed in critical condition but is expected to make a full recovery.
Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies, Petaluma and Rohnert Park police officers, and the California Highway Patrol all responded to the scene simultaneously to disperse the sideshow.No further details were shared, such as whether or not any arrests were made or vehicles were seized.