Springs youth in Juvenile Hall on weapons charges

A 16-year-old Springs youth is in Juvenile Hall on a host of charges relating to homemade weapons the boy was making.

According to a release from Sgt. Cecile Focha, Sonoma County Sheriff’s public information officer, at about 11:39 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, a deputy was sent to the area of Riverside Drive and Verano Avenue for a report of a subject with a gun. An area resident called 911 reporting he had heard a gunshot and then saw a subject walk out of Maxwell Park.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, possibly in his 20s, wearing a baggy black and grey flannel shirt and very baggy pants. The suspect appeared to be in a hurry and was walking with a limp. The caller saw the suspect take a handgun from his side and put it in his belt under his shirt.

Focha said when the deputy was in the area of Arbor Avenue and School Street, he saw a person matching the clothing and gait descriptions. The deputy said the man behaved suspiciously and was concealing something. The person was detained and told the deputy that he was hiding a loaded gun in his pocket and there was more ammunition in another pocket.

The deputy removed a modified flare-gun which contained one live .22 caliber round. He found four additional unfired .22 caliber rounds in his pants pocket.

A second deputy searched the area where the man was walking and found a single .22 caliber shell casing near a walking path in Maxwell Park.

The man bragged to the deputy about his knowledge of guns and fancied himself an amateur gunsmith and boasted about making his own guns. He said he affiliates with norteno criminal street gang members, so he carries a gun with him for protection from surenos.

The man turned out to be 16 years old.

The young man volunteered his cell phone to show the deputy the videos of himself shooting various firearms, makeshift pistols and long guns in what appeared to be the backyard of a home, and shooting into the air in front of a residence. There were videos of him holding and manipulating production rifles, pistols, revolvers and shotguns. The young man had recent Internet searches inquiring about the illegality of shooting a gun into the air. His Facebook page had photos of him holding different firearms. He mentioned that he had several more guns at his house.

Focha said the young man told the deputies had become rather paranoid from smoking a lot of marijuana lately. He said he sold several guns to random people on the street and didn’t care if anyone got killed with the guns – he just wanted to get rid of them.

Since the young man mentioned having additional guns and ammunition at his house, and the videos and photos his cell phone, the deputies surmised it was likely he possessed other firearms either makeshift or commercially produced. A property crimes detective was called and authored a search warrant for the boy’s residence.

During the search of the residence, pellet guns that had been modified to shoot .22 caliber bullets were discovered. Miscellaneous homemade firearms in varying stages of construction were found in an about the house. There were also a couple air-soft handguns. The detectives and deputies removed hundreds of rounds ammunition for shotguns, rifles and other caliber weapons.

The young man did not appear to grasp the severity of the crimes he was being charged with. Throughout the interview, he laughed about his skills with homemade guns. He mentioned repeatedly how popular he was because he is well-known for his ability to produce firearms.

Focha said the identity of the male subject was not released since he is a minor.

The youth was booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of carry a concealed firearm on person; firearm not immediately recognizable as a firearm; unconventional pistol; zip gun; loaded firearm in public; minor possess pistol revolver capable of being concealed; minor possesses live ammunition and negligent discharge of firearm