Boy's discovery of gun in San Leandro leads to gang member's arrest

SAN LEANDRO (BCN) - An 11-year-old boy's discovery of a loaded gun while he was walking to school in San Leandro led to the arrest of an alleged gang member for a shooting outside a bar last week, police said.

The boy was walking to Washington Manor Middle School at about 7:20 a.m. last Thursday when he saw the handle of a gun in the bushes adjacent to the bar Shilo's at the corner of Manor Boulevard and Zelma Street, where there had been a shooting about six hours earlier, at 1:35 a.m., according to San Leandro police.

The boy believed the gun was a toy but when he picked it up he found out that it was a real handgun so he phoned his parents, who came to his assistance, secured the firearm and called police, authorities said.

Officers who came to the scene determined that the firearm was loaded and also discovered that it had been reported stolen to the Alameda County sheriff's office last August, police said.

The shooting earlier in the morning had occurred as two uniformed California Highway Patrol officers in a marked patrol car conducted an enforcement stop on a suspected DUI driver in the parking lot of Shilo's, according to police.

While the CHP officers were conducting their investigation, they heard three or four gunshots coming from inside or near the bar. They called for backup, which resulted in a large response by CHP and San Leandro officers, police said.

About 20 patrons were inside the bar at the time of the shooting so police ordered them to go outside for their own safety, according to police.

Officers searched the bar but didn't find any victims or evidence that a shooting had taken place inside the bar, police said. The bar patrons were interviewed by police and released.

Detectives continued their investigation and developed information that a known gang member from San Leandro was responsible for the shooting, police said.

The 25-year-old man, who is currently on probation for firearm-related offenses, was one of the patrons contacted by police inside the bar after the shooting, according to police.

Undercover officers from the San Leandro Police Department's crime suppression unit located the suspect on Thursday night and arrested him on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm in public for the purposes of further promoting his gang, police said.

The reputed gang member was found to be in possession of narcotics and has also been booked on that charge, as well as for allegedly violating the terms and conditions of his probation, police said.

San Leandro police said they don't know the motive for the shooting and don't know if the suspect fired in the air, toward the CHP officers or at someone or something else.

San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus said in a statement, "We commend the 11-year-old boy for immediately calling his parents to report that he found the gun. This easily could have ended in tragedy, both when the shooting occurred and when the boy found the gun."

The suspect, whose name is being withheld by police as their investigation continues, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward on Tuesday.

Police said they will perform additional laboratory tests on the gun that was discovered by the boy to see if it was used in other shootings.