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Friends and family gave a strong show of support at an Oakland courthouse Tuesday for one of the suspects charged with setting a string of fires in Alameda over the weekend.
27-year-old Stephen Petersen and 22-year-old Andrew Guiterrez are facing multiple felonies in connection with seven different fires.
Petersen is a musician and grew up in Alameda. Dozens of co-workers and family members showed up at the courthouse for his arraignment. It was the first time they have seen him since the arrest.
"We tried calling the jail, and they said at first we needed to put a down payment for him to make a long distance call. But they've never had him call us," Stephen's father Philip Petersen explained.
Petersen's girlfriend told KTVU she just hopes he is okay.
"I'm really worried," said Shayna Butler, "I know he's vegan, so I don't know if he's eating or if he's starving. I don't know how he's holding up because he is a very sensitive person. I'm really, really worried about his mental health right now."
Friends also expressed frustration at the police.
"I've tried to get a hold of them three times," said James Bulman. "I've left two voicemails and I haven't heard anything back."
Bulman told KTVU he is a co-worker and friend, but more importantly he says he is Petersen alibi. According to Bulman, Petersen couldn't have started those fires because he was at work with him on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
"The night ended about 1:45. He left shorty after we left," Bulman explained. He says the last thing Petersen told him was that he was going to go to Park Street to hang out with friends.
Bulman did confirm a call back from a detective Tuesday afternoon. Alameda Police told KTVU they call every potential witness. They also said only two people have called claiming to have witness information.
Witnesses appear to be key to the investigation.
According to court documents, Petersen "matched the description of a male seen at two additional incident of arson fires, within close proximity and time."
Friends say Petersen does not know the other suspect Andrew Gutierrez. He is described as a transient and used a translator as the felony charges were read to him.
According to court documents, Gutierrez "matched the description of a subject scene leaving the scene by a witness" and "was positively identified by the witness."
Documents also state that Gutierrez was "also observed at the scene of three other arson fire locations." Police believe they have video that shows him setting one of the fires.
Gutierrez is being held on $620,000 bail. Petersen is being held on $375,000 bail.
Both men asked for public defenders and will be back in court on Wednesday, October 1.Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:03:57 -0700
A 34-year-old woman missing out of San Leandro since Saturday night has been found safe Tuesday evening, a police lieutenant said.
Teresa Thongsinthusak had spent the weekend in Sacramento with her family and on Saturday took an Amtrak train from Sacramento to Oakland, San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus said.
From Oakland, police believe she took public transportation and spoke with family members around 10 p.m. Saturday when she told them she arrived home safe, according to police.
On Sunday, a family member received a phone call from a person who said she found Thongsinthusak's phone on a BART train that traveled between the MacArthur and South Hayward stations, according to police.
Thongsinthusak's family then sought help from police.
Officers checked Thongsinthusak's home where they found her Ford Taurus missing from the driveway, police said.
She had not shown up or called her job at an Oakland pharmacy at all this week, according to police.
Thongsinthusak and her vehicle were found safe Tuesday evening and no foul play is suspected, McManus said.Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:59:02 -0700
The mayor of a Los Angeles suburb was shot to death Tuesday during an argument with his wife, who was taken into custody, authorities said.
Daniel Crespo, 45, was pronounced dead at a hospital, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Crystal Hernandez said.
Paramedics were called to a Bell Gardens condominium shortly after 2:30 p.m. Crespo and his wife, 43-year-old Levette Crespo, had gotten into an argument, Hernandez said. Their son, Daniel Jr., 19, tried to intervene and Crespo got into a struggle with him, she said.
His wife got a gun and shot Crespo several times in the torso, Hernandez said.
She was detained for questioning, Hernandez said.
Crespo and his wife were high school sweethearts who married in 1986. They met in New York, according to a biography on the city's website.
Bell Gardens, a suburb of about 43,000, is located about 18 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Crespo was elected to the City Council in 2001. The council is a part-time job and members take turns serving as mayor.
Crespo has been a county deputy probation officer for 15 years, according to the website.
However, county CEO Bill Fujioka stated in a Twitter posting that Crespo had more than 21 years with the probation department.Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:37:40 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories