On the third dawn of the year, residents of normally quiet Novato received a jolt when they drove in for their morning coffees. A double shooting took place in the Hamilton Marketplace parking lot early Monday morning. Two Novato residents, a 27-year-old Hispanic male and a 23-year-old white male, suffered multiple gunshot wounds while sitting in a car.
Police do not believe it was a random crime.
"At least preliminarily, we believe this was a gang related incident," said Lt. Jon McCarthy.
One woman is already in police custody. Police did not elaborate on what role they think 22-year-old Alessandra Coyle played, but they are looking for other suspects.
"We're searching for two individuals," said McCarthy.
On the surface, this might not appear to be the biggest of stories, but consider where it took place ? well-to-do Marin County, an area that certainly is not immune to such crimes, but doesn't see a lot of them.
"We're becoming that we're joining the world, and the world's becoming a very sad place," said resident Alice Burbage.
In this bedroom community of expensive homes and fresh-scrubbed kids, residents have begun to notice more sights of gangland taggings from out of the area. Rick Oltman took photos of a fence the past few days and noted how it keeps changing.
"This latest gang tag, the third one, was added between 3:30 yesterday when I originally took a picture of this wall and this morning," said Oltman. "I'm not a police officer, but I think if I was I'd follow up on this lead."
If the police already have or intend to, they are not saying.
"It is a peaceful bedroom community. It is a wonderful city," said McCarthy. "Unfortunately, gang activity crosses jurisdiction lines."
And socioeconomic ones, as well, or so it would seem.
Asked if she felt safe in her neighborhood, Burgage replied, "Not particularly. But who does?"