Suspect In Civic Center Shooting, Transbay Chase Pleads Not Guilty

A 21-year-old man who was allegedly involved in a shooting following the Pride celebrations in San Francisco on Sunday and then led police on a pursuit across the Bay Bridge into Oakland pleaded not guilty Wednesday to multiple felony charges.

Ruben Villegas, of Oakland, pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday afternoon to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a convict carrying a concealed and loaded firearm and evading police with willful disregard, district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Villegas and three other people were arrested following the shooting, which did not injure anyone and was reported at 8:27 p.m. Sunday near Leavenworth and McAllister streets, just east of where Pride celebrations occurred earlier in the day, police said.

A four-door silver sedan was seen leaving the area and was later spotted near First and Mission streets as it headed toward the Bay Bridge, according to police.

Officers tried to stop the vehicle on the bridge but Villegas, the alleged driver, refused to yield and a passenger threw a firearm out of the car, police said.

Police followed the car onto city streets in Oakland, where officers called off the pursuit. The suspect vehicle continued but then crashed a short distance away into the wall of Joshua Christian Church at West Grand Avenue and West Street.

Villegas, Jesus Campos, 24, of San Lorenzo; Christian Bravo, 21, of San Francisco; and Sonia Medrano, 28, of Burlingame, were arrested at the scene, but prosecutors discharged the cases against the other three suspects pending further investigation, Bastian said.

Villegas, who appeared in court with heavy bruising on the left side of his face, was on probation for a receiving stolen property conviction from earlier this year, prosecutors said.

His probation was revoked and he was ordered held by Judge Rochelle East on $200,000 bail. He will return to court next Tuesday for a pre-hearing conference.

Deputy Public Defender Tal Klement told the judge he would ask for a lower bail at a later hearing, saying it was “a complicated case” and that he had not yet been able to discuss it in depth with Villegas.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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