San Rafael Experiences Multiple Incidents in Guatemalan Independence Day Weekend Violence

San Rafael Experiences Multiple Incidents in Guatemalan Independence Day Weekend ViolenceSource: San Rafael Police Department
Eileen Vargas
Published on September 18, 2023

The city of San Rafael was shaken by a series of violent incidents last Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday, following the conclusion of peaceful, hours-long Guatemalan Independence Day celebrations. The incidents that took place throughout the night include multiple shootings and a stabbing, all leaving the community shocked and deeply concerned.

At 10:22 PM, witnesses reported hearing gunshots fired in the 100 block of Novato Street. The San Rafael Police Department found a 25-year-old male victim who had been shot twice. The SRPD implemented life-saving efforts and transported the victim to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. According to the press release from San Rafael Police Department, leads have been developed at the scene and the case is actively being investigated to identify and apprehend the suspects responsible.

Later, at 1:30 AM, the SRPD received notification from a local hospital that a 20-year-old male gunshot victim arrived in the emergency room. As per the SRPD report, it is difficult to determine what transpired and where the incident took place, given the uncooperative nature of the victim. Thankfully, the young man's injury was found to be non-life-threatening.

Prior to the aforementioned shooting, a fight broke out at 12:30 AM, where a 24-year-old male victim was stabbed. Officials confirmed that the victim was also taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The San Rafael Police Department was aware of the Guatemalan Independence Day gatherings and celebrations, and had increased personnel and patrols to ensure public safety. An additional shift was implemented alongside existing patrols meant to handle an expected increase in calls for service and incidents, particularly due to events that transpired during the previous year's celebrations. The SRPD cooperated with allied Marin County Law Enforcement Agencies, including the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Novato Police, Central Marin Police Authority, Fairfax Police, Ross Police, and Mill Valley Police, providing additional resources throughout the night as necessary.

On September 15, until just after 9:00 PM, more than 1,500 attendees participated in the vibrant, peaceful celebrations at the Northgate Mall in Terra Linda and a parking lot in the 1100 block of Andersen Drive. However, as these celebratory gatherings came to an end, large crowds shifted to the Canal Neighborhood, where the violent incidents would later transpire.

By 9:15 PM, these gatherings grew large enough to cause traffic jams, prompting the SRPD to maintain a presence throughout the Canal Neighborhood. Despite the peaceful nature of the initial celebrations, by midnight, officers were faced with reckless driving activity and a growing sideshow on Canal Street and Medway Road. As officers attempted to disperse this increasingly rowdy crowd, additional violence broke out and an emergency request for mutual support was sent to other Marin County Law Enforcement agencies.

Ultimately, additional personnel from surrounding agencies arrived at the scene and helped clear the area of the large gathering without further incident. By 1:45 AM, the streets were reopened after being previously closed for order maintenance.

The San Rafael Police Department now seeks the public’s assistance in shedding light on these violent incidents that have shaken the community. They are requesting that anyone with information, video footage, or photographs of the events, to come forward and contact the SRPD at (415) 485-3000, or share their tips through the SRPD website.