418 Riley Street, Santa Rosa | Google Maps
SANTA ROSA – According to a Community Bulletin issued by the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) an arrest was made in the Riley Street homicide investigation that occurred on Monday, June 27th.
Shortly before 1 AM on that day, SRPD Officers responded to the report of a man down in front of 418 Riley Street. Police and medical personnel responded and discovered a male subject on the sidewalk, later identified as Cirak Mateos Tesfazgi. Tesfazgi was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been brutally stabbed over 50 times.
SRPD located a large chef-style knife at the scene of the murder that was believed to be the murder weapon. The knife appeared to be a new, high quality knife that detectives believed to have been sold only in select stores.
Santa Rosa Violent Crimes Investigation (VCI) Detectives began contacting local cutlery stores to establish who sold the make and model knife that had been used in the homicide.
Santa Rosa VCI Detectives learned that the local Macy’s sold the brand of knife. While looking for the knives that were in their inventory, Macy’s employees discovered that two knives were missing.
Store security assisted detectives with locating video to try to identify when the knives had been taken. Macy’s employees and security also were able to provide information about a suspicious subject that they had seen inside the store and in the cutlery area on more than one occasion.
Additionally, Macy’s security had located a Chef knife package that had been discarded on the stairwell outside of Macy’s. The package was presented to detectives who found that the package matched that of the murder weapon.
Detectives spent the next several days looking at video inside Macy’s and near the area of the stairwell where the packaging was found. They also looked through days worth of video from other businesses and city cameras near the murder scene from the night of the murder.
On Wednesday June 29th, detectives located a subject on video inside of Macy’s and leaving the exit near the stairwell where the packaging had been found.
They also located the same subject walking in the area of the murder scene near the time the crime was believed to have occurred. The subject also appeared to be wearing the same clothing in the videos.
Santa Rosa VCI Detectives began working with the Downtown Enforcement Team and patrol officers to identify the person of interest in the video.
Officers recognized the subject from several casual encounters and provided detectives with the name of the subject as Delonte Anthony Hart. Officers and detectives began looking for Hart in areas where he had been contacted in the past to question him about the homicide.
On June 29th, several hours after the search for Hart began, officers were dispatched to the Roxy Theater on the report of a stabbing.
The description of the subject matched that of Hart. Hart was later apprehended a short distance away and arrested for attempted murder of victim Adam Lucero.
When Hart had been fleeing the scene of the movie theater, he discarded the knife in a garbage can. That knife was identical to the murder weapon used to kill Tesfazgi. Hart also had discarded the packaging from that knife prior to his capture by police.
Lucero had been watching the movie “The Shallows” by himself when Hart ambushed him from behind. The attack was totally unprovoked and no interaction had occurred between the two prior to the incident.
At the time of the arrest of Hart for his attack on Adam Lucero in the theater, Hart’s clothing was taken as evidence, and a swab for DNA was taken.
The evidence was sent to the Department of Justice Lab and processed. Several weeks later detectives were notified that blood from Cirak Mateos Tesfazgi had been located on Hart’s clothing and fingerprints belonging to Hart had been located on the chef’s knife left at the murder scene.
On July 19th, Santa Rosa Police VCI Detectives filed murder charges on Hart, who is still in custody on attempted murder charges.
Based on prior contacts, it appears Hart is new to this area and he is believed to have spent time in the Bay Area and Southern California prior to coming here from the Baltimore, Maryland area.
Fliers have been sent out statewide to determine if Hart has been involved in any other crimes. Anyone with information regarding this case, or any others is asked to call the Violent Crimes Investigation Team at 707-543-3590. Callers may remain anonymous.