A 14-year-old gang member from Rialto was one of two suspects arrested for allegedly carjacking and tying up a victim on Feb. 16, authorities said.
The next day, the Rialto teen was allegedly involved in an incident in which a gun was fired inside a gasoline station in Highland.
On Feb. 17 at about 9:51 a.m., deputies from the Highland Police Department were dispatched to the 27200 block of 5th Street in reference to a carjacking, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
The investigation revealed the victim was in Rialto the night before when he was approached by two suspects. One suspect pointed a firearm at the victim and forced him to his silver Mercedes SUV, where they used his shoe laces to tie him up. The suspects kidnapped the victim and drove him around while they attempted to withdraw money from various ATM machines.
Then the suspects drove the victim to a vacant residence in Highland, where they stripped him of his clothing and hogtied him before leaving.
A good Samaritan heard the victim yelling for assistance and entered the residence to untie him.
Through the investigation, it was determined the victim’s vehicle was the same vehicle involved in the shooting. Rialto detectives were notified and they initiated a parallel investigation.
The shooting occurred at about 12:18 a.m. at the ARCO gas station in the 25700 block of Base Line Street. The two suspects arrived at the location in the Mercedes SUV and entered the business. One subject exited the store and the other subject waited in line. The subject inside the store discharged one round from a firearm and both subjects fled the location in the Mercedes.
On Feb. 18, a Highland Police sergeant found the vehicle parked in the driveway of a residence on the 7400 block of McKinley Avenue. Four subjects entered the vehicle and a traffic stop was initiated. All four subjects were detained.
The driver of the vehicle was the Rialto teen who matched the description of the suspect involved in the crime spree, and one of the occupants was identified as 19-year-old Manuel Esparza of Highland. A loaded 9mm firearm was found inside the vehicle. The Rialto Police Department assumed the investigation and the 14-year-old driver and Esparza were later booked into jail.
The second suspect from the gas station incident is still unidentified and the investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact detectives at the Highland Police Station at (909) 425-9793. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.