Gilberto Ruiz Avendano had problems. He had broken up with his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his children. He wanted to move in with her and the kids, and he had a large amount of marijuana, and needed a place to process the weed so he could sell it. He thought his ex’s home would be a good place to take care of that as well.
Avendano, 31, showed up at the woman’s home on Acacia Lane in northeast Santa Rosa, near both Douglas Whited and Madrone Elementary Schools, on Sunday evening, April 26, according to the Santa Rosa Police. The woman later reported that she and Avendano were arguing – he wanted to get back together and move in with her and the children. He also told her about the marijuana he needed to process, but she would not go along with his plans. At that point, he reportedly pulled a weapon – an assault rifle – and pointed it at her chest, threatening to kill her. Rather than shooting her, however, he pointed the gun at the ceiling and fired. The woman scrambled to gather her children and leave the house.
She must have felt that Avendano would listen to reason, and she returned to the house, accompanied by several other people, with the aim of convincing him to leave, taking his gun and marijuana with him. It was about 10:30 pm by then, and after entering the house, she once again argued with Avendano, and saw the marijuana he had brought in. She said he also appeared to be intoxicated, and told her if she called police, he would be there waiting.
She again left the home, and at 11:15, she called Santa Rosa Police to report the situation. Responding officers secured the area, and tried to get Avendano to come out and give himself up. With no results, and a standoff in place, the law enforcement team increased. By 12:30 am, a detective from the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Team was called out to take over the investigation. Additional detectives, the police Tactical Support Team, Hostage Negotiations Team, and Special Weapons and Tactics Team also reported to the scene.
Communications with Avendano were attempted, but he instead made a run for it out the back of the home. Officers stationed in the rear were able to take him into custody, and fortunately for all, he did not bring his weapon when trying to escape. He was arrested and booked at the Sonoma County Jail on charges of child endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, making threats of violence, and burglary.
The investigation continued as detectives obtained warrants to search the Acacia Lane home, as well as Avendano’s residence of record, which is across town on Modoc Drive. Evidence was collected at both locations, which helped build the case against Avendano. Additional charges related to marijuana possession and sales, and domestic violence, will likely be added as the investigation continues.
The Acacia Lane neighborhood has been the scene of other recent drug related violence. In February, three men initiated a home invasion of a pair of marijuana growing rental homes. Their attempt resulted in a gun battle that led to the death and serious injury of two of the invaders, the surviving two arrested, and the arrests of the two men renting the properties, one of whom had his children there while they had been running the drug operation out of the homes.