3 Federal Agents Injured in Petaluma Raid

Federal agents reportedly were serving a search warrant at a home.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag joined state and local officials in South San Francisco to announce the arrests of 13 alleged members of violent Bay Area street gangs who were taken into custody in a multi-agency operation carried out at 11 locations this morning. (Published Thursday, May 3, 2012)

    Three special agents with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations were injured in Petaluma Thursday morning while executing "high-risk federal warrants," according to a news release.

    A suspect is in custody, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the department. She did not elaborate or name the suspect.

    Federal agents in Petaluma injured while serving warrant.

    [BAY] Federal agents in Petaluma injured while serving warrant.
    Three federal ICE agents were injured Thursday while serving a warrant in Petaluma. Here is an NBC Bay Area helicopter view of the scene. (Published Thursday, May 3, 2012)

    The agents were serving a warrant as part of an "ongoing criminal investigation" at a home on McNeil Avenue, in the eastern part of the city about 4:10 a.m, Kice said. The warrant, she added, was not immigration-related.

    In all 19 people were arrested and charged with 29 different counts relating to a grand jury indictment dating back to April 24.

    One neighbor told NBC Bay Area that the house where the warrant was being served had roused his suspicion based on all the people that came "in and out" of there.

    Kice confirmed at a Thursday news conference that the raids were focused on gang members believed to have been connected to a triple homicide in South San Francisco in December, 2010.

    Killed were three alleged gang members: Gonzalo Avalos, 19, Omar Cortez, 18 and Hector Flores. Police mobilized to investigate the gang activity, a source told the newspaper, but they soon began to widen their investigation, which included a look at guns and drugs.

    In addition to ICE agents, Petaluma police and South San Francisco police were on scene.

    Kice also initially said that she was not sure if the agents were shot, but simply stated that they had been injured. It was later confirmed that they were shot.

    At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Clark Settles said the raid should serve as notice to other gangs.

    "Be looking over your shoulder because there's a good chance we're coming for you next," he said.

    Two of the agents were were taken to Memorial Hospital, one by helicopter and one in an ambulance. The third agent was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

    An employee of a nearby Best Western on South McDowell Boulevard said he heard an explosion prior to shots being fired in the primarily residential area. The hotel was told to keep all patrons inside the hotel.