Click photo to enlarge
Police said a four-door Mercedes sedan crashed into the Joshua Christian Church, at West Street and and West Grand Avenue in Oakland following a shooting and a transbay police chase from San Francisco on Sunday night.

OAKLAND -- Four suspected gang members were behind bars on Monday following a police chase that led officers across the Bay Bridge and ended when a car carrying the suspects crashed into an Oakland church.

The chase stemmed from a shooting in San Francisco that took place just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, said San Francisco police Sgt. Dennis Toomer.

No one was injured in the shooting or the crash but the Joshua Christian Church in West Oakland sustained major damage, police said.

Police arrested Ruben Villegas, 21, of Oakland; Jesus Campos, 24, of San Lorenzo; Christian Bravo, 21, of San Francisco and Sonia Medrano, 28, of Burlingame, on suspicion of possession of a concealed firearm in a public place, possession of stolen property and participation in a street gang.

Villegas, who was allegedly behind the wheel during the chase, was also arrested on suspicion of evading police and on a probation violation, said San Francisco Officer Tracy Turner.

The chaos began after San Francisco police responded to a report of shots fired near Leavenworth and McAllister streets.

Witnesses spotted a silver-colored sedan driving away from the area with three males and a female inside but when officers attempted to stop the vehicle on the Bay Bridge, the driver refused to pull over, Toomer said.

A gun was tossed from the car during the pursuit, but was later recovered by police. The chase ended near West Grand Avenue and Market Street in Oakland where the car was last seen by officers.


Advertisement

A short time later officers responded to a single-vehicle crash at West Grand Avenue and West Street -- about two blocks away from where the car was last spotted.

The vehicle, a silver four-door Mercedes, smashed through the wall of Joshua Christian Church and ended up inside the building.

At the scene, police found two male suspects and a female suspect near the car and arrested them. The third male suspect was located nearby at 22nd and Curtis streets and arrested.

The San Francisco shooting was the second in the city's Civic Center area on Sunday evening and the third in San Francisco that day. On Monday Turner said that detectives were investigating whether the four suspect arrested in Oakland were involved in the earlier shootings.

About 6:35 p.m. on Sunday multiple shots were fired in the area of Larkin and Grove streets, shortly after the SF Pride celebration wrapped up. Police say two men were each shot in the leg and suffered non life-threatening injuries. It was not known on Sunday if the victims were the intended targets.

A suspect was seen running on Larkin Street after the shooting, police said, but no arrest was made.

A few hours earlier, a 30-year-old San Francisco man was fatally gunned down in the Bayview District of the city, police said. Officers were called at 3:05 p.m. to the 700 block of Kirkwood Avenue for a report that a man had been shot, police said.

Police found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No one else was injured in the shooting which remained under investigation on Monday. A motive was not immediately known and police did not have a suspect description.

Also on Saturday, about 5:15 p.m., officers responded to a call of multiple shots being fired in the 1000 block of Market Street.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a man, 20-30 years old, was struck by shrapnel and suffered a non life-threatening injury to his head. He was transported to a hospital for a medical evaluation.

No one else was injured in that shooting, and police said they do not know whether the victim was the intended target.

A motive was not immediately known, Toomer said, but the firearm used in the shooting was recovered by police and a suspect in his 20s was arrested. The suspect's name has not been released.

Anyone with information about any of the shootings is asked to call the department's confidential tip line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to "TIP 411." Place "SFPD" in subject line.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund