According to Sgt. Paul Yotsuya of Patterson Police Services, two men were attempting to steal beer from Wal-Mart before they were stopped by the store’s security. In an attempt to break away from the confrontation, one man pulled out a gun while both began running towards Walgreens on the corner of Sperry and Ward avenues.
Sgt. Yotsuya said the suspects were quickly apprehended, and back up called in. One young man who was suspected to be holding the gun was caught just a short distance from Walgreens at the corner of Las Palmas and Ward avenues near the Patterson Skate Park, added Sgt. Fidel Landeros.
Sgt. Landeros said the security officer that patrols the local skate park, Eric Bredenberg, noticed the suspicious character right away.
“I was working at the skate park when I noticed all the sheriffs that were around the area,” said Bredenberg, who is employed by Rank Investigations and Protections, Inc. “Then I noticed that some guy just popped up out of the blue. He had on dirty shorts and a dirty shirt, like he was crawling. He looked suspicious, so I went across the street and let the sheriffs know.”
Bredenberg was told to stand by and watch the suspect as the officer notified dispatch. After authorities received a clear distinction of what the young man looked like from various witnesses, they apprehended the suspect at the skate park.
The 18-year-old suspect, who was later identified as Zachary Naro, was just moments away from escape after his mother came in a mini-van to pick him up from the park. Bredenberg knew he had to act quickly.
“I grabbed him and put his hands behind his back until the sheriffs were able to get there,” said Bredenberg. “I didn’t put cuffs on him, I just held him down and walked him over to the patrol car when the sheriffs arrived. If I didn’t make the attempt to grab him, he would have gotten away into the mini-van with his mom.”
Naro was detained and identified by Wal-Mart security as one of the suspects that evening, said Sgt. Landeros.
The second suspect fled to South Ninth Street, but was recovered by neighbors in the area.
According to one witness who wishes to remain anonymous, she heard a commotion across the street at a former hospital on South Ninth Street. When she left her dwelling to see what was happening with her husband, she spotted a cop at the former hospital shinning his lights inside.
The witness said she and her husband heard someone walking in the field right on the other side of their fence. When her husband asked what the man was doing there, the suspect asked if he could hide inside their home.
In response, her husband told her to call the cops, she said. When she called the police, she said her husband started to chase the suspect in their back yard.
“My neighbor started screaming because the suspect ran towards their backyard,” she said Friday evening. “Then the cops showed up and the neighbor had the suspect on the ground.”
Police were able to identify the second suspect as 19-year-old Martin Morales.
No one was hurt throughout the ordeal, Sgt. Yotsuya said, but Wal-Mart and the nearby Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy stores were locked down for a period of time.
Morales was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery, burglary and two counts of shoplifting, according to the Sheriff’s Department’s online in-custody report. Naro was booked on suspicion of assault with a firearm, and both face additional counts related to street gang activity and conspiracy. Bail amounts on Sunday were listed at $750,000 for Morales and $300,000 for Naro.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or email@example.com.