The Motel 6 in north central Santa Rosa (actually called Motel 6 Santa Rosa South because there is another one just up Highway 101) is by most appearances just like any other Motel 6 – basic rooms with few amenities at a very reasonable price. In fact, many reviewers on TripAdvisor.com stated as much, especially those traveling with pets found it acceptable, and even nice. Many other reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other review sites, however, complain of a long list of issues – smoking in non-smoking rooms, loud neighbors, prostitution, drug dealers and users, and gang activity. An incident in May seemed to confirm that this motel has a problem.
On Tuesday, May 19, a group of friends had rented a room at the motel, which is on Cleveland Avenue right off the 101 Freeway. They were partying late into the night and smoking marijuana in the room, according to the Santa Rosa Police. A group in the next room, however, was looking for trouble. At some point after midnight, some of these “neighbors” confronted one of the partyers, asking him what gang he claimed. The intruders claimed a local criminal gang affiliation, and continued to shout gang challenges to the partying group.
Probably intimidated by the confrontation, all but one of the partyers left the room. Finding the remaining 29-year-old man in the room alone, a group of the gangsters came into the room and attacked him, both punching and kicking him in the head and body. Leaving him semi-conscious and suffering critical injuries, the attackers then left the motel. At 1:33 am, a guest at the motel contacted police to report the violent assault. Police and emergency medical personnel were dispatched, and the victim was rushed to the hospital.
Detectives from the Santa Rosa Police Gang Crimes Team took over the case, and developed leads based on witness accounts and evidence collected from the scene. Of the estimated eight to ten gang participants, they identified two specific suspects. One of them, 25-year-old Maurice Martin Marchbanks, was arrested that same day, found at his home on West 6th Street in central Santa Rosa, about two miles from the motel.
The other identified suspect was Marcos Dionicio Vazquez, a 19-year-old also of Santa Rosa. But Vazquez, at least in previous arrests, did not report a permanent home address, using only a P.O. box, so locating him was more of a challenge.
Vazquez had been arrested three times in recent months. On March 3 he was pulled over by a CHP officer in the Santa Rosa area and charged with driving under the influence. On the night of Saturday, April 18, he was arrested by Windsor Police in the town of Windsor, north of Santa Rosa on Highway 101. He was arrested near a home on Common Court and charged with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. (Records show that another Santa Rosa man, 18-year-old Enrique Ramos Torres, was also arrested that night in the same area and charged with public intoxication, but it is not known if the two were directly connected.)
A week later, on Friday April 24, Vazquez was arrested by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy in Petaluma, on Stony Point Road, and charged with possession of alcohol as a minor and resisting arrest.
He was appearing at Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday, May 29 on these prior charges. when detectives were finally able to locate him, and arrested him as he left the courthouse.
Both Marchbanks and Vazquez were booked at the County Main Adult Detention Facility and charged with attempted murder, with related gang enhancements. Bail was set at over one million dollars for each.
The investigation and search for additional suspects involved in the assault is ongoing. A reward has been offered by the Sonoma County Alliance “Take Back Our Community Program” of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of these and other potential suspects in the gang attack. The Gang Crimes Team may be contacted at 707-543-3670. The regular police line, which may be called to report any gang activity, is 707-528-5222. Anyone in immediate danger should always call 911.