Carlos Eduardo Gutierrez, 18, and Bryan Sandoval Rocha, 17, both of San Rafael, are charged with killing 21-year-old Jeffrie Lee Olmstead of Corte Madera after a car chase in San Rafael on May 11. Rocha is being tried as an adult.
Both teens are also charged with participation in a street gang and assault, Deputy District Attorney Yvette Martinez-Shaw said.
Gutierrez also is charged with felony vandalism of a Ford Explorer, the car Olmstead got out of before he was fatally stabbed on Woods Street in San Rafael, and Rocha is charged with personal use of a weapon, Martinez-Shaw said.
The defendants are scheduled to return to court to enter pleas to the charges June 2.
Two juveniles, ages 16 and 17, who also were involved in the incident, are charged with participating in a street gang.
All four suspects are documented gang members, San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.
Police said rival gang members armed with bats and sticks were seen running in the 600 block of B Street around 5 p.m. May 11.
They left the area in a white Pontiac Grand Am and a red Ford Explorer and the Ford chased the Pontiac west on Ross Street until the Pontiac turned onto Woods Street, a dead end, Rohrbacher said.
The occupants of the vehicles then began fighting in the street, Rohrbacher said.
Three occupants in the Ford, including Olmstead, were stabbed, Rohrbacher said. Olmstead told his friends to leave him and he went to a nearby house for help, Rohrbacher said. The residents called 911 and gave Olmstead first aid, but he collapsed in the front yard as the combatants left in their vehicles, Rohrbacher said.
Olmstead was taken to Marin General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Two occupants of the Ford who suffered minor injuries were dropped off in the emergency room of the hospital. They were treated and released, Rohrbacher said.
An ongoing problem
Meanwhile, the Marin County civil grand jury released a report examining gang activity in the county on May 23. The document’s release was not pegged to the recent homicide, foreperson Fred Cushing said.
“The body of this largely informational report is intended to shed light on the various facets of a very complex topic by providing the reader the same information this Grand Jury was privileged to examine,” it states, without drawing any definite conclusions as to whether gang violence is escalating countywide.
A grand jury report released in 2008 concluded, “Marin’s gangs are less violent and their numbers are growing more slowly than in other Bay Area communities.” However, interviewees who interact regularly with gangs almost unanimously said that gang violence has escalated following the 2008 report, the document says.
Nortenos and Surenos are the largest gangs in the county, it reports. Generally, gangs are run by “kingpins” who are often operating out of prisons. San Quentin’s highest gang members are merely “middle management,” according to prison staff, while the highest gang officials can be found in maximum-security prisons like Corcoran and Pelican Bay.
Motivation for joining a gang varies, the document says. Some gang members are the offspring of two or three generations of members. Others had been placed in foster or group homes that were, they said, “physically abusive” or poorly managed, and turned to gangs for support. Clique affiliation with gangs in Juvenile Hall offered safe passage, some told the grand jury, while rejection would mean isolation or abuse.
The report is based on information gathered from firsthand experience (from ride-alongs and sweeps) as well as from law enforcement, government officials and documented gang members. It is subtitled “A Tale of Two Counties” because gangs members feel they exist in a separate sphere from the rest of Marin.
“They took delight in the fact that they see us, but we tend not to see them,” the document reads. “They were amused to call our attention to the fact that citizens of Marin who eat in restaurants, have their landscapes groomed, cars washed or repaired, or take local buses, have most assuredly rubbed shoulders with bona fide gang members.”