Shooting suspects sought
By Kevin O’Brien
Two suspects are at large following a non-fatal shooting at the Northside Apartments in Abbotsford on Sunday.
Police are searching for Carlos Santiago- Gonzalez and Joennval Moctezuma-Torres, who were seen on a security camera leaving the scene carrying handguns. The vehicle they left in was later found on Second Street in Abbotsford, but the suspects were gone. Local police first learned of the shooting, which occurred at 1:10 p.m. on Feb. 16, after the victim drove himself to Aspirus Hospital in Medford. The hospital went on lockdown for two hours, and officers from the Medford Police Department and Taylor County Sheriff’s Department responded and met with the victim. The Colby-Abbotsford Police Department, along with deputies from Clark and Marathon counties, responded to the apartment complex on the north side of Abbotsford and were able to identify the suspects from surveillance footage.
Search warrants were executed at the suspects’ homes, and evidence was collected Sunday while officers remained on scene in case the suspects returned, Bauer said.
Based on information they received from witnesses, police do not believe the public was in any danger, as this was a targeted attack.
On Monday, police chief Jason Bauer said there appears to be a long-running conflict between the victim and one of the two suspects. “The victim is not giving a whole lot of details, but there’s definitely a feud between the two of them,” he said.
However, Bauer said no previous incidents involving the two men were ever reported to police. When asked if drugs were involved, Bauer said no.
According to online court records, Santiago- Gonzalez was convicted of resisting an officer in 2015. Charges of battery and disorderly conduct were dismissed in that case. Moctezuma-Torres has no previous charges on his record.
The two suspects had been living at the Northside Apartments, while the victim lived elsewhere in Abbotsford and was just visiting one of the apartments, Bauer said. The victim was treated and released on Sunday.
A third man was also shown on the surveillance video, but he did not enter the apartment, Bauer said. This man, who has not been named by police, is being a considered a possible party to the crime. He left in the same vehicle as the two suspects, but his whereabouts are unknown at this time.
At least three shots were fired, Bauer said, but at this time, police are not certain if one or both of the suspects shot the victim.
The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle being driven by someone who is cooperating with police as a witness, Bauer said. The driver, who is the registered owner of the vehicle, was ordered by the suspects to stop the car on Second Street so they could get out, Bauer said.
Bauer said police spoke to the residents of a home on Second Street where the vehicle was found parked, but they said they do not know the suspects.
“We believe they had friends who helped them get out of the area,” Bauer said.
When asked where the suspects may have gone, Bauer said there are a lot of possibilities.
“A lot of these guys have ties to New York, and a lot of times, they have ties to Puerto Rico,” he said.
Most of the tenants at the Northside Apartments are from Puerto Rico and have come to the area to work for Abbyland Foods, owner of the apartment complex.
Bauer said he thinks at least one of the suspects will likely do something to catch the attention of law enforcement, but it could be difficult to track them down.
“They’re going to do everything they can to disguise their identity,” he said.
Anyone having information on the whereabouts of Carlos Santiago-Gonzalez or Joennval Moctezuma-Torres is asked to call 715-223-2313.