On Friday, police officers served multiple search warrants in Vacaville, Sacramento and West Sacramento related to the homicide that took place at KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar in the early morning hours of September 19. Police say they believe that “all the targets of this investigation are members and associates of a Norteño criminal street gang based in Vacaville, CA.”
Detectives arrested an additional homicide suspect, identified as Victor Manuel Acosta Vergara (a 22-year-old male from Vacaville) in Fairfield. During the searches of various homes in Vacaville, detectives also located narcotics, large sums of money and a firearm.
On Monday afternoon, the police released names and photos of two fugitive suspects in the fatal stabbing of 23-year-old Peter Gonzales, following an early morning fight inside KetMoRee in downtown Davis early Saturday morning.
Police identified Zackary Sandeno, 21, and his younger brother Joseph Sandeno, 20, of Vacaville, as two remaining suspects in the murder investigation. Late on Saturday, police had arrested Martyn Contreras of Vacaville, 25, who is being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail.
Police announced the arrest of Zackary Sandeno on Monday evening.
“20 year old Joseph Sandeno is still wanted in connection with the homicide,” Assistant Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard. “No further information is being released at this time.”
Joseph Sandeno is described in the police report as a white male, with blond hair, blue eyes, approximately 6’00”, and 140 lbs. Based on the police investigation, Joseph Sandeno currently has shoulder length blond hair.
According to reports, the victim, Mr. Gonzales, had been in Davis with his family to attend his sister’s wedding on Sunday. The wedding party ended up at KetMoRee on Friday night. Mr. Gonzales was coming to the aid of his two brothers who had been assaulted in the bar. He was then fatally stabbed.
The murder has shocked the sense of many in the community, who are questioning current policies that have allowed restaurants like KetMoRee to convert to after-hours nightclubs. KetMoRee has been a popular late night location with college-aged crowd, but often has been the source of trouble in the form of fights and drunkenness.
On Friday night this scene turned deadly. The Vanguard requested and was provided incident reports dating back five years at the club, as presented in an article on Thursday, September 24.
Assistant Police Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard that police responded to a fight inside the bar located at 238 G Street at approximately 1:30 am on Saturday morning.
When officers arrived they found the 23-year-old male from Southern California suffering from a serious injury consistent with being stabbed. The victim was transported to UC Davis Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Assistant Chief Pytel told the Vanguard, “There are no indications the victim did anything to provoke the fight.” And information has emerged, as stated, that the victim was actually coming to the aid of his brothers at the time he was stabbed.
On Wednesday, Mr. Contreras and Zackary Sandeno went to court, but ultimately their arraignment was postponed. Both defendants requested a continuance pending retainment of private counsel. The two face first-degree murder charges per Penal Code section 187(a), along with gang enhancements according to PC section 186.22.
Martyn Contreras stated, “I am going to be using an attorney I have used in the past.” Zackary Sandeno echoed that, stating, “I am still looking for private counsel, your honor.” The court granted a continuance date of October 5, at 1:30 pm, Department 1.
Supervising District Attorney Garrett Hamilton agreed with the continuance: “I agree with that, your Honor, but want to keep the motion in place,” referring to a motion keeping the two defendants together.
—David M. Greenwald reporting