A Stockton gang member was convicted by a jury today for a shooting back in June of this year at a busy north Chico intersection which left the neighborhood peppered with gunshots.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said a Butte County Superior Court jury convicted Tyrone Sotolongo, 24, of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, personal use of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of possession of heroin for sale.
Ramsey said the shooting occurred on June 7, 2017 shortly after 1:00 P.M. near the intersection of the Esplanade and Cohasset Road in Chico and numerous 911 calls poured into the Chico Police dispatch center from frightened citizens. In what Chico Police investigators later theorized was a possible drug deal gone awry, Sotolongo chased and fired at least nine shots from a 9mm semi-automatic handgun at a 23-year-old victim, also of Stockton. Sotolongo was described as shooting at the running victim in the heavy traffic of the intersection. Security video also showed Sotolongo firing through busy traffic in an attempt to hit his intended target. One bullet entered an open optometrist’s office and a second bullet penetrated an unoccupied car – striking a child’s car seat and the driver’s headrest.
Numerous Chico Police officers responded to the scene and were directed by citizens to a vehicle Sotolongo had jumped into on the passenger side. When police attempted to stop the car, the driver, Marcelino Juarez, 23, of Stockton, sped off northbound on the Esplanade. While fleeing on the Esplanade the vehicle ran two red lights at an estimated speed of 60-70 mph.
When the fleeing car pulled onto Mandalay Court, Chico police officers boxed in the car and struck it with one of their patrol cars to bring the dangerous pursuit to a halt and arrested Sotolongo and Juarez.
Juarez was sentenced on October 11, 2017 to 3 years in state prison for a charge of Evading Pursuing Officers.
Following the jury verdict, a court trial was held and Judge James Reilley determined Sotolongo had a prior strike out of Stockton for assault with a firearm.
Sotolongo is facing a maximum of 35 years 8 months at his scheduled sentencing on January 10, 2018.
Ramsey said “This shooting took place on a weekday afternoon in an area with heavy traffic and multiple open businesses. Sotolongo’s conduct was horribly dangerous and it was very fortunate no one was struck by any of the multiple rounds fired. At the time of the shooting, numerous witnesses spoke with the police which facilitated the quick apprehension of a dangerous offender.”