Samuel Tewolde. Source: Santa Rosa PD
Samuel Tewolde. Source: Santa Rosa PD

Berkeley Police officers arrested a Santa Rosa man wanted on suspicion of attempted murder on Sunday Feb. 9. The arrest was made during a traffic stop at University Avenue and 10th Street, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

Shortly after midnight, an officer conducting the traffic stop found that Samuel Tewolde, a passenger in the vehicle, had several warrants for his arrest from the Santa Rosa Police Department. Tewolde, 30, was booked into the Berkeley City Jail, and the other vehicle occupants were released.

According to a federal indictment, Tewolde had been wanted in connection with attempted murder in the aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, as well as using firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence arising from his participation in the Varrio South Park (VSP) gang, according to a statement released by the FBI last week about the arrest.

Tewolde made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Feb. 11.

According to authorities, “The attempted murder charge against Tewolde arises from an incident on September 5, 2013, in the parking lot of a restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa, where Tewolde fired shots at an individual whom he believed to have ‘snitched’ against other members of VSP.” No one was injured during that incident, but one vehicle parked in the lot was struck by gunfire, police said previously.

Tewolde had been wanted by police since at least October in connection with that incident. Other individuals associated with the gang, which has ties to the Norteños, were arrested in December.

The investigation is the result of a joint effort by the FBI, the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Rosa Police Department, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...