STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- Fifty gang members and associates, as well as dozens of guns, are now off Stockton’s streets, according to police.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the San Joaquin County District Attorney and Stockton’s police chief announced a major operation Tuesday aimed at cutting violent crime by targeting a deadly street gang.
On Sept. 22, a car chase ended with a patrol car in flames.
“These assailants in these vehicles were on their way to commit a homicide based on the information we had,” explained Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.
Chief Jones said officers stopped three men and a boy who were on the way to shoot rival gang members.
Their intervention was part of a bigger operation. Jones told reporters 50 people were arrested, 42 firearms were seized and 25 pounds of drugs were recovered in Operation Red Ruin.
“Red” for the color associated with the Latino gang they targeted and “ruin” for what police and prosecutors hope to do to their organization.
“They kicked ass and then, let me tell you, 50 people now feel it,” said San Joaquin County DA Tori Verber-Salazar.
Red Ruin was a collaboration between the Stockton Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the San Joaquin County DA’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office.
“(The gang members) were intent on committing harm, they were intent on killing people, they were intent on purchasing illegal weapons, intent on selling and transporting guns,” DA Verber-Salazar said.
The gang is largely responsible for the spike in violence this spring that put Stockton on track for a 60% increase in gun crimes and homicides, according to Chief Jones.
“After a very violent spring and early summer, since these operations and working heavily with the community, we’ve seen it temper off a lot,” he explained.
But there are still community casualties.
On Oct. 1, a stray bullet injured a 10-year-old girl playing in her back yard. As part of Operation Red Ruin, police arrested a man and two boys for the crime.
While celebrating their successes, Stockton police estimated there were hundreds of gangs and 2,000 verified gang members in Stockton.
“We have a blueprint on how to move forward a reduce violence and we have a lot of work to do,” Jones said.