Miguel Antonio Vargas (left) and Juan Antonio Mena.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said “juvenile street gangs” are suspected in a Jan. 24 shooting in east Carson City that left one juvenile hospitalized in Reno.
“Years ago, we really cracked down on these gangs; these are gangs we have known exist here,” Furlong told the Appeal on Wednesday. “It’s been a long time since we have had any significant gang activity in this town. It’s a reminder if we don’t stay on top of it, this kind of activity can happen.”
In a press release, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office announced additional arrests linked to the shooting. Detectives worked with the Special Enforcement Team Gang Unit, school resource officers, and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office to arrest two 18-year-old male suspects: Juan Antonio Mena and Miguel Antonio Vargas. They were arrested on Jan. 28 after officials executed a search warrant at a Mound House residence. Both men face alleged charges of battery with a deadly weapon (accessory), assault with a deadly weapon (accessory), possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number, destroying evidence and criminal gang enhancement. Bail for both men was set at $30,000.
Additionally, a 17-year-old male was arrested in Carson City on Jan. 28. Furlong said besides the two adult suspects, CCSO now has four juveniles involved in the shooting in custody. A 16-year-old male from Carson City, who suffered gunshot wounds to his legs, was arrested after being released from Renown Regional Medical Center on Jan. 25. Two other juvenile suspects were arrested later Jan. 25: a 17-year-old Carson City juvenile female and a 15-year-old Carson City juvenile male.
A 16-year-old Lyon County male juvenile who suffered a gunshot to the face remains hospitalized in Reno. Furlong said Wednesday he doesn’t know the juvenile’s medical condition but said the suspect is still unable to be interviewed by police.
According to Furlong, the shooting occurred the night of Jan. 24 at the 3300 block of East Carmine Street behind a CVS pharmacy. Detectives estimated 17 shots were fired. Several cars were damaged by an escaping vehicle. The Lyon County juvenile was found at the intersection of Sherman Lane and Concord Drive. Recovered at the same location was a vehicle that had multiple bags of marijuana and mushrooms inside. The Carson City suspect who suffered gunshots to his legs was located at the 3000 block of Carmine Street.
Furlong said there could be up to four guns involved in the shooting. CCSO has recovered two handguns, but Furlong said there is evidence outstanding weapons have been destroyed.
He said all suspects were identified within 12 hours of the incident.
“It took us several days to wrangle them all in,” he said.
Furlong expects more arrests in the future. Detectives previously thought illegal drugs could be a motive in the shooting, but Furlong confirmed Wednesday that juvenile gang rivalry between Carson City and Lyon County could be a factor. He encouraged parents concerned about their children engaging in such activity to call 775-887-2500. People can leave a message for members of the Special Enforcement Team Gang Unit, Furlong said.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and those with information can contact the CCSO Investigations Division at 775-283-7856 or 775-887-COPS.