Tag Archives: attack

Guilty of hammer attack at park


Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on Friday, a Yolo County jury convicted 21-year old Christopher Lee Castillo of West Sacramento for his participation in a gang assault of two juvenile victims in the Memorial Park area of West Sacramento on March 19, 2010.

The two victims and their family had been harassed by the gang members during the two months before the assault, said the D.A.’s office.

“When the two victims, who were brothers, went to confront members of the gang, they were ambushed by numerous gang members armed with weapons, and a pit bull,” according to the D.A.’s statement. “Defendant Castillo struck one of the victims in the head with a hammer, creating a deep gash.  After the assault the gang members continued to threaten and harass the family causing the family to move twice. Since the incident nine other defendants had entered pleas to various charges.”

  The jury deliberated for less than four hours before returning guilty verdicts on all counts, including conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal street gang activity.  The defendant will be sentenced on December 14, before Judge Stephen L. Mock.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig credited the efforts of Officer Labin Wilson and the West Sacramento Police Department in investigating the case.  “The juveniles in this case were victimized for standing up to a gang of bullies,” commented Reisig in a press statement.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

9/11: Paying their respects

West Sacramento’s Cheng Saetern takes a photo of son Derrick Saelee; watching are family members Sharon Saechao and (partially hidden) Abigail Saelee (News-Ledger photo)


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The flags returned on Friday, thousands of them, fluttering in just about the same Southport location they have occupied on each anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

There’s one flag for each victim of that day – in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in a doomed United flight crashed into a field. And while the annual memorial is the brainchild of former West Sacramento resident John Vinson, the number of volunteers has grown.

West Sacramentans new and old have come to expect and look for the flag tribute at South River Road and Jefferson Boulevard in Southport every year about this time.

LEFT: Christina Vinson and Kevin Langford talk to a visitor to the 9/11 memorial at the Southport site (News-Ledger photo)

Monday afternoon, Vinson’s daughter Christina was sitting under a shade with Kevin Langford, staffing the display. Behind them, towards Jefferson Boulevard, was a firefighter’s uniform mounted on a chair, symbolizing the first responders who lost their lives responding to the World Trade Center disaster.

Christina Vinson said that the role of overseeing the flag memorial is a shared one.

“It’s lit up at night,” she said. “My two older brothers watch at night.”

Others sit in shifts, with a guestbook in front of them. Nearby was a shade tree and table manned by former West Sacramento City Clerk Helen Kanowsky, a volunteer looking for recruits to the fire department’s Community Emergency Response Team squad.

A few families began to arrive and stroll into the flag display.

One was the family of Cheng Saetern and Sharon Saechao.

“This is the first year we’ve lived in West Sacramento,” said Saetern.

“We wanted to remember all the people who died,” added Saechao.

The flags at this year's memorial were grouped, disaster by disaster. This field memorialized the victims of United Flight 93, whose crew and passengers died after their plane was hijacked and some passengers attempted to retake the craft. (News-Ledger photo)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Gang members sentenced for attack near Lowe’s


The following is from a May 17 press release from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office:

“District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock concluded sentencing on three gang members convicted by jury for an attack on three people in a Lowe’s parking lot in West Sacramento on April 19, 2010.

“Twenty-year olds Jose Antonio Duran and Salvador Benjamin Vasquez, Jr., and 21-year-old Joseph Vincent Sisneros, saw a victim who was a Starbucks employee and UC Davis Student eating in his car in the Lowe’s parking lot just after 10 p.m.  The three Sacramento men, all of whom a jury found to be active Norteño gang members, took the victim’s iPod, wallet and keys.  The men then did what Judge Mock described as a “senseless beating” of the victim, causing two facial fractures, while he begged them to stop.

  “The men were laughing and shouting ‘Norte,’ the name of their gang, which caught the attention of four Lowe’s employees as they exited the store.  One employee, a U.S. Army Reservist, approached the assault and attempted to call the police.  According to Judge Mock, the men then ‘targeted [him] because he was calling the police,’ threatened to shoot him, and chased him away.

“The men caught the second Lowe’s employee, who was UC Davis physical therapy student.  Although the student immediately raised his hands in surrender, defendants Duran and Sisneros repeatedly kicked the victim in the face, breaking his nose, while defendant Vasquez threatened to shoot him.  Later, the defendants were pulled over by police as they left the area in Duran’s car.  After a two week trial, a YoloCounty jury convicted all three defendants on February 27, 2012.

“Judge Mock concluded that the defendants had ‘terrorized’ the three victims and demonstrated the threat posed by criminal street gangs.  He sentenced Sisneros to state prison for 15 years, Vasquez for 18 years and four months and Duran for 21 years and four months.  For the gang-related witness intimidation, Judge Mock imposed the statutory term of 7-years-to-life on all three defendants.

  “Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens prosecuted the case.  ‘Street gangs succeed as an enterprise because they routinely threaten and intimidate witnesses of their crimes,’ explained Couzens.  ‘The ‘life’ commitment lets witnesses of gang violence know that the justice system wants to protect them and deters gang members from interfering with investigations.’

“Prior to trial, the prosecution offered each defendant a non-life prison term.  All three defendants rejected that offer.”

Dog sought after Madrone Ave bite


The animal services division of the Yolo County sheriff’s department is looking for a dog involved in a biting incident on April 15 in West Sacramento.

The sheriff’s office reports that a female victim was sitting on her porch on the 1600 block of Madrone Avenue at about 5 p.m. when a “golden retriever”-type dog came around the corner of the house and attacked, before running off towards Westacre Road. A search didn’t turn up the dog.

Typically, a dog involved in a bite needs to be checked for rabies so that the victim doesn’t have to undergo unnecessary and painful rabies treatment.

The sheriff’s office added that allowing a dog to run unattended is a misdemeanor, and the animal services division plans to increase its enforcement with a “zero tolerance” program for owners.

At the same time the sheriff’s office announced it was looking for the West Sacramento dog, it reported it was also seeking dogs involved in biting attacks in Woodland and Davis  on April 12 and 14.

Anyone with information on the involved dogs or their owners is asked to call (530) 668-5287 (24 hours/day) or email animal.bite@yolocounty.org.

Copyright News-Ledger