The Novato Police Department has arrested two suspects who are thought to be involved in two allegedly gang-related assaults on the same unnamed Novato man on the evening of Sunday, March 16, as NPD Detective Sergeant Michael Howard wrote in a press release on Wednesday afternoon. This brings the total number of people arrested in connection with the assaults up to eight.
NPD officers located and arrested Oscar Benitez, 20, of San Rafael and Jackson Calderon-Escobar, 19, of Petaluma between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. Both men have been charged with conspiracy and participation in a criminal street gang. Detective Sergeant Howard last announced arrests in this case on Thursday, March 20.
On March 16, at approximately 7:00 p.m., a group of suspects approached the male Novato resident, whose identity has not been released, in the area in front of the Round Table Pizza at 1565 South Novato Boulevard in the Nave Shopping Center in Novato. During the assault, the victim broke free and ran, but one of the suspects tried to run him down in a car. Fortunately, this attempt was unsuccessful.
After the victim spoke to NPD, he was assaulted for a second time and sustained injuries that required medical treatment, although they were not severe.
This is the third wave of arrests since the assaults. On the evening of Tuesday, March 18, Detective Sergeant Howard announced the arrests of Antioch resident Tatiana Jenkins, 24; Novato resident Christopher Cooke, 19; and an unnamed juvenile male Novato resident, 16. On the evening of Thursday, March 20, Howard announced the arrests of Novato residents Christian Velasquez, 21, and Carlos Rodas, 20, as well as Larkspur resident Diego De laCerda Guerrero, 21.
All six of the suspects who had been identified prior to the week have been charged with participating in a criminal street gang with a gang enhancement. Jenkins, Cooke, Velasquez, De la Cerda Guerrero, and the juvenile male were also charged with conspiracy. Jenkins had additional charges of battery and a probation violation, while the minor had additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
Rodas and De la Cerda Guerrero have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and dissuading a witness. In addition to these charges, Rodas has been charged with making criminal threats and Velasquez has been charged with a violation of probation.
All eight of the arrested suspects have been booked at Marin County Jail on the charges listed above.
NPD Lieutenant John McCarthy explained that no additional information about this case is available at this time because “the investigation is ongoing today.”
Marin Independent Journal: San Rafael and Petaluma men join list of suspects in Novato gang investigation
CrimeVoice: Novato Man attacked by 3 gangsters