The sixth and final suspect in the September killing of Peter Gonzales at the KetMoRee bar and restaurant, Joseph Sandeno, 20, was taken into custody just before 1 am Saturday by Vacaville Police.
According to the Davis Police report, a citizen reported a suspicious vehicle with expired Washington plates with two occupants, parked in front of a residence. Officers responded and Mr. Sandeno was in the car. A gun was located in the car. He was arrested on the warrant for murder and is being held at the Yolo County Jail.
The arrest comes more than two months after the murder in the early morning hours of September 19 stunned the city of Davis. 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.”
The other five co-defendants have been in custody since the end of September and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. It remains to be seen if prosecutors will delay that hearing to join the younger Mr. Sandeno with the other co-defendants.
Detectives had previously arrested older brother Zachery Sandeno, 21, in September. Other defendants, also from Vacaville, include Victor Vergara, 22; Martyn Contreras, 25; Carlos Biviescas, 24; and Anthony Rivera, 25.
According to reports, the victim, Mr. Gonzales, had been in Davis with his family to attend his sister’s wedding on that Sunday, September 20. 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.
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 that 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.” Police believe that the victim was actually coming to the aid of his brothers at the time he was stabbed.
In addition to Mr. Sandeno’s arrest this weekend, police have arrested a second man found inside the car. At this point, he is being held on unrelated drug charges. A handgun was recovered from the vehicle and police are attempting to determine whose gun it was.
Furthermore, investigators are examining whether Mr. Sandeno had assistance in eluding police since September.
—David M. Greenwald reporting