Police arrest gang member following local brawl

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The Winters Police Department called in for backup assistance when they arrived on scene at a large brawl on the 100 block of Grant Avenue on Wednesday, April 28. Winters Police Chief John P. Miller told the Express that officers were responding to multiple 911 calls regarding the incident and found about 15-20 folks engaged in a physical fight, some armed with knives at 5:08 p.m. According to Miller, some of the individuals fled the area after officers arrived, and others verbally and physically resisted officers who were trying to establish control of the scene and determine if anyone required medical attention. Some of the individuals who physically resisted officers were taken into custody as officers worked to establish control of the situation and determine if anyone required medical attention. “We had a chaotic scene,” Miller said. “There were two obviously involved groups continuing to argue. Officers had to sort out the primary people involved. Knives had been reported, and someone reported a gun was involved.”  Officers learned the brawl was ignited after an individual had thrown a large rock at a passing vehicle. Miller said Dale Ritter, 19 and who is a validated Norteño gang member, was identified as the primary aggressor who threw the rock and then allegedly brandished two knives and threatened to get a gun during the fight. Ritter had fled into his apartment upon the arrival of officers. Miller said that with the threat of a gun officers evacuated nearby apartment dwellings out of an abundance of caution and officer safety.  With additional assistance from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI Safe Streets /Yolo County Gang Task Force a perimeter was established around the scene.  Ritter voluntarily exited his apartment and was taken into custody without further incident or injury an hour and a half after the incident had begun. According to Miller, Ritter has a criminal history involving violence and weapons and is currently on probation for an incident in Solano County. Police suspected other individuals, possibly armed, may have been in the apartment. He said officers gave multiple orders over a public address system for them to surrender and vacate. With no response, police breached a window with beanbag rounds and prepared to potentially launch pepper spray into the apartment. Miller said after obtaining a search warrant, officers searched Ritter’s apartment and discovered over 20 knives, that fit the description of a butcher knife, on the premises. However, no firearms were discovered in the search. Ritter was booked into the Yolo County Jail on charges including assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a deadly weapon, criminal threats and violation of probation. The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has taken on the case and will determine if any of the others involved in the brawl will face charges. He said the evacuated residents were able to reenter as soon as the affected apartment was secured, and road blocks were lifted around Midnight. Miller noted Winters has the same community issues as surrounding ones and is not immune to these types of incidents. “We have the same woes as society. We still have the domestic violence, thefts, burglary and gang activity,” said Miller.  He said WPD intends to keep Winters from turning into a gang territory but needs the community’s help to report suspicious activity to their 24-hour dispatch center at 530-795-4561. Don’t turn a blind eye to it. Don’t tolerate it. Call the dispatch,” said Miller.

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