A 24-year-old probationer accused of running away from police in an incident that prompted an officer-involved shooting last weekend was charged Tuesday with felony gun possession and street terrorism.
Armando Antunez is charged with one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm by a probationer, possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school and street terrorism, all felonies, with a sentence-enhancing allegation of criminal street gang activity.
An arraignment date has not yet beet set for Antunez, who faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted, according to Roxi Fyad of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Antunez has a prior-strike conviction for having a concealed, loaded, unregistered gun in a vehicle and street terrorism, both felonies, to which he pleaded guilty on Dec. 11. He was sentenced to 380 days in jail and placed on three years probation in that plea deal, according to court records.
Antunez, a friend and two other members of a gang were driving through Santa Ana on March 1 of last year when officers attempted a traffic stop, according to Fyad.
The suspects led police on a short pursuit, according to Fyad, who said a loaded, unregistered gun was found in the vehicle.
In his latest encounter with police about 6 p.m. Sunday, Antunez was shot in the upper body and hand, but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
Police attempted to talk to a group of alleged gang members, including Antunez, in a neighborhood plagued with gang activity, prompting the suspects to run away, Bertagna said.
The neighborhood gang has been the target of an injunction the county is pursuing in civil court.
Authorities attempted to put Antunez on a list of people named in the injunction, but he could not be located to be served with the papers, Bertagna said.
Twenty-five other gang members were served with the injunction, including Artunez’s 25-year-old twin brothers Sergio and Daniel, and 21 were enjoined, Fyad said. One died and three are pending further proceedings in court, she said.
Daniel Antunez is contesting the allegation he belongs to a gang and is due in civil court Aug. 12 on his case.
Prosecutors allege in the civil suit that Armando Antunez admitted to being with fellow gang members when he was a victim of a drive-by shooting on June 21, 2013. He was also accused of fleeing from police on July 30, 2013, and allegedly had methamphetamine on him when officers caught up with him, according to the injunction.
A group of Townsend neighborhood residents planned to stage a protest tonight. The group is critical of the injunction, saying the Antunez brothers are not allowed to associate with each other under the terms of the civil action.
They allege Armando Antunez was shot twice in the back and once in the wrist area, and that while he was being handcuffed, an officer inflicted more pain by leaning on the suspect.
They say there are cell phone videos showing the suspect “crying in agony” as he waited for an ambulance that took 15 minutes to arrive.
— City News Service