Bay Area/ North SF Bay Area/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 19, 2024
Santa Rosa Teen Arrested for Gun Charges Following Digital Tip via "STOPit" AppSource: Santa Rosa Police Department

Amidst rising concerns over school safety and gang violence, a digital tip has led to the arrest of an 18-year-old on firearms charges in Santa Rosa. The "STOPit" app, a tool for anonymously reporting potential dangers, was key in the intervention that possibly thwarted gang-related threats.

According to a post made by the Santa Rosa Police Department on Facebook, administrators at Elsie Allen High School were alerted through the app about a student allegedly in possession of a handgun, and supposedly connected to gang activity. The school year was already over when the tip came in, and there was no indication that the firearm had been brought onto school property.

Taking action on June 12, 2024, the SRPD's Gang Crimes Team executed a search warrant on the 600 block of King Street. During the operation, officers unearthed a Smith & Wesson 40-caliber firearm with its serial number deliberately obliterated, hindering the gun's traceability.

Further investigation in what appeared to be the suspect's bedroom led to the discovery of clothing and paraphernalia typically associated with gang affiliation. Based on the findings, Diego Cortes was taken into custody and booked for the felony alteration or removal of a firearm serial number, a violation of 23900 PC. All middle and high schools in the Santa Rosa City Schools district have adopted the use of STOPit for reporting suspicious or harmful activities. Cortes awaits trial, enveloped in the broader narrative of a community grappling with the very real specter of gang involvement among its youth.

As the debate on gun control and school safety continues nationwide, STOPit app's role exemplifies how technology can be harnessed to potentially prevent violent incidents, providing a real-time conduit for vigilant students to voice their concerns. The Santa Rosa Police Department case number for this incident is 24-7133, and for a thorough account of the incident.