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Bay Area News Briefs

By Mike Aldux

January 22, 2008

Police investigate homicide at San Mateo T.G.I. Friday's

A robbery attempt may have resulted in the death of a restaurant worker found lifeless on the floor of a T.G.I. Friday's in San Mateo Monday morning, according to a preliminary police investigation.

Investigators have not yet been able to confirm whether any money or property was taken from the restaurant or from the nightshift employee who was killed, said San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi.

A daytime restaurant manager arrived at the eatery, located at 3101 S. El Camino Real, at around 5:15 a.m. Monday and found Douglas Castillo, 36, of Hayward, dead on the floor.

The manager immediately called police, who arrived within minutes. Castillo was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police began investigating Castillo's death as a homicide after noticing trauma to his head, Brunicardi said.

The death is the city's first homicide since 2006.

Oakland teenager shot by boyfriend

A 16-year-old girl killed in Oakland Monday morning was shot by her 17-year-old boyfriend, who was trying to scare her with a gun, police spokesman Roland Holmgren said.

Police responded at about 12:45 a.m. to reports of a possible suicide at 957 Seventh St., Holmgren said. Officers arrived to find a 16-year-old girl suffering from a fatal gunshot wound, which officers determined did not appear to be a suicide.

The girl's 17-year-old boyfriend was taken into custody and later admitted that he shot the girl while trying to scare her with the gun, according to Holmgren.

Police arrested the boyfriend for the victim's death, the city's sixth homicide this year, and the case is pending review by the Alameda County District Attorney's office, Holmgren said.

Another Oakland shooting occurred at about 3:20 a.m. Monday at 14th Street and Broadway. Two victims were injured and transported to a local hospital where they were listed in stable condition, according to police.

Final day for Bay Area residents to register to vote

Today is the final day for Bay Area residents to register to vote in order to be eligible to cast ballots in the Feb. 5 presidential primary election.

All California residents who are U.S. citizens, age 18 or older as of Feb. 5 and not in prison or on parole for a felony are eligible to vote. Residents must register to vote in the county where they live. They also need to register if they have changed addresses, their name or political parties since the last election, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office.

Santa Clara County residents can check if they are registered to vote online at www.sccvote.org or by calling (866) 430-VOTE, 24 hours a day.

Voter registration forms are available at local post offices, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, libraries and most local government offices.

Sonoma County drug dealers arrested

Four alleged drug dealers were arrested Monday after raids of three Sonoma County homes yielded more than 14 pounds of cocaine and 117 marijuana plants, police said.

The arrests came after a six-month investigation that led to search warrants for two Rohnert Park homes, at 4328 Grandview Way and 1109 Copeland Creek Drive, and for another in Santa Rosa, at 1705 Las Pravadas Court, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

The three homes harbored a combined 14.5 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $527,000; 117 marijuana plants worth $160,000; 2.5 pounds of processed marijuana worth $8,000; $19,000 in cash and six vehicles, including four BMWs, a truck and motorcycle, police said.

The suspects arrested at the homes were Frank Powers-Monachello, 24, Dan Scheiner, 42, Dana Gearardo-Scheiner, 44, and Ryan James Floyd, 26, police said.

The four face various charges related to drug sales and conspiracy.

PG&E upgrades streetlights in Richmond's Iron Triangle

Streetlights in a five-block area in Richmond's Iron Triangle neighborhood have been shining brighter since Pacific Gas and Electric Co. completed upgrades last week, according to a report from Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay.

Thirty standard 70-watt bulbs were swapped out for 150-watt bulbs in the area between Fifth and 10th streets between Pennsylvania and Lucas avenues. The pilot project cost the city $15,000, according to Lindsay.

The new bulbs have made the area noticeably brighter, Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

"Obviously darkness is the friend to criminal activity," Gagan said. "There's no doubt that burglaries and loitering will be greatly reduced when people can look out the window and see what's going on."

The pilot project is one of many things city officials are trying in an effort to reduce the city's homicide rate.

Richmond police reported 47 homicides in 2007, the highest number in more than a decade. Two homicides have been reported so far this year.

While some residents living in the pilot area think it's a step in the right direction to brighten the crime-ridden neighborhood, others have complained that the lights are too bright and shine in their windows at night, Gagan said.

The city is also working on a second pilot project to replace four conventional 70-watt streetlight bulbs with light-emitting diode bulbs, known as LED lights. The new energy-efficient bulbs will produce more effective white light without using any more electricity, according to Lindsay.

Family-owned restaurant in Sonoma County to remain open

A Sonoma County Superior Court judge has issued a tentative ruling that allows a popular restaurant in the Coddingtown Mall to remain open.

Judge Mark Tansil issued the tentative ruling Friday on a preliminary injunction that prohibits the mall's landlords, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Codding Enterprises, from evicting Narsi's Hof-Brau because it is not generating enough revenue.

The mall owners want to replace the family-owned restaurant with a national chain restaurant, possibly the Cheesecake Factory, as part of an effort to upgrade the mall.

"Plaintiffs have made a strong showing that irreparable harm would occur to this longstanding restaurant business, if injunctive relief were not continued, and that there is some reasonable likelihood that plaintiffs will later prevail on the merits," Tansil said.

Stephen Beckwith, attorney for Narsi Samii, said Tansil will hear arguments against his ruling from the landlords Monday morning in civil court.

Beckwith said Samii's 1983 lease required him to generate $150 per square foot when the restaurant was 2,000 square feet. The restaurant is now 5,800 square feet and Samii is several hundred thousand dollars short of generating the revenue called for in the lease.

Police investigate stabbing in Salinas

Salinas police are investigating a stabbing that occurred early Sunday morning near a gas station at the corner of East Laurel Drive and North Main Street.

According to police, James Lopez, 25, was walking by the Valero station when four Hispanic males shouted and beckoned at him. When Lopez approached the men they immediately fell upon him and began punching and kicking. Lopez also felt one of the men reach into his pockets. He managed to get away but later realized he had been stabbed.

Lopez was treated at Natividad Medical Center for non-life threatening stab wounds to his abdomen and left thigh.

The four males were last seen fleeing from the gas station in an unknown sedan. Lopez was unable to provide any further information about the incident or the suspects, according to the Salinas Police Department.

Daly City police searching for elderly woman's attacker

Police are continuing their search for a man who savagely attacked an elderly woman in Daly City during a Jan. 12 robbery attempt, a Daly City police detective said Monday.

The suspect in the botched robbery, 28-year-old Jose Perez-Gonzalez, remains at large, detective said. Police believe that he most recently resided at 971 Sandra Court in South San Francisco, but have searched more of the Bay Area in hopes of finding Perez-Gonzalez, an undocumented immigrant originally from Guadalajara, Mexico.

At around 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 12 Perez-Gonzalez allegedly used a metal bar to pry open a rear sliding door of the 78-year-old victim's Serramonte neighborhood home. Police believe that Perez-Gonzalez was surprised by the victim and beat her about the face with the pry bar, leaving her "bleeding profusely from massive facial and head trauma," according to police. The suspect then fled the home through the front door, setting off the silent alarm.

Police responded to the alarm around 3:40 p.m. and found the victim suffering major injuries, police reported. The woman was taken to a local hospital where she remains in critical condition, a police detective said.

Investigating officers discovered that the suspect apparently called the victim's home ahead of time pretending to be delivering a package, in order to determine what time the victim would be out of the home.


Copyright © 2008 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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