BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield Police Department made several firearms-related arrests over the weekend as part of an ongoing effort to combat gang violence.
The first series of arrests happened on Friday. The department said at around 6:58 p.m., officers were conducting a patrol in southeast Bakersfield due to several ShotSpotter activations when they conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 3600 block of Madison Avenue.
BPD said the officers saw an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun. The driver, identified as 27-year-old James Webb, was arrested on suspicion of gang participation, carrying a concealed firearm, possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and for other offenses.
At around 7:25 p.m. Friday night, BPD said officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 3200 block of Lotus Lane. The driver of the vehicle, 28-year-old Dion Evans, was found to have a suspended driver’s license and an unrelated misdemeanor arrest warrant, according to the department.
Officers also found a loaded handgun during a search of Evans’ vehicle, BPD said. Evans was arrested on suspicion of gang participation, carrying a concealed firearm, driving with a suspended license and for other violations.
Finally, at around 10 p.m., officers conducted another traffic stop, this time in the 300 block of Northrup Street. Before the vehicle stopped, BPD said officers saw the driver throw a handgun out of the moving vehicle.
Kazan Villegas, 28, and 29-year-old Phillip Lopez were arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, gang participation and other offenses.
In addition, the department said Villegas was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On Saturday at around 12:37 a.m., BPD said officers contacted several known probationers at 349 Union Ave., at which time officers observed 19-year-old Darren Williams attempting to conceal a firearm by sitting on it.
Williams was taken into custody without incident and a loaded handgun was recovered, according to the department. Williams was arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, gang participation and for other offenses.
At around 12:26 p.m, officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 400 block of West Columbus Street.
BPD said the vehicle attempted to evade officers and eventually came to a stop, after which a passenger in the vehicle, later identified as 24-year-old Darius Burton, fled on foot in the 1200 block of 40th Street.
The department said an officer pursued the suspect, who was armed. During the foot pursuit, Burton discarded the firearm and was taken into custody with no incident. The handgun was recovered, according to BPD.
The driver, 29-year-old Deandre Smith, was arrested for various vehicle code violations, gang participation, conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Burton was arrested on suspicion of having several outstanding felony warrants, gang participation and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On Sunday at around 2:03 a.m., the department said officers saw 25-year-old Augustine James fire a handgun into the air in the 500 block of Butte Street. James was arrested for negligent discharge of a firearm and possession of a concealed firearm. The firearm was recovered by police.
Lastly, at around 7:05 p.m., BPD said officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop in the 1100 block of East Planz Road. The driver of the vehicle, identified as 24-year-old Abel Villatoro, failed to stop and led officers on a short vehicle pursuit before fleeing on foot, according to the department.
BPD said Villatoro was quickly detained and a search of his vehicle revealed a loaded handgun and methamphetamine. He was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance while armed, drug possession, gang participation and for other offenses.