• Suspected teen shooter caught after long search

  • A 15-year-old male suspected of firing three shots from a vehicle in what is believed to have been a gang-related dispute in May has been arrested, police said.
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  • A 15-year-old male suspected of firing three shots from a vehicle in what is believed to have been a gang-related dispute in May has been arrested, police said.
    Santiago Loveland-Flores, of Medford, is being held at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of attempted first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and a probation violation stemming from a past assault charge.
    The capture ends a search that went on for more than two months.
    "He was really on the run for a long time," said Lt. Mike Budreau. "He certainly knew he was being sought."
    In addition, Loveland-Flores' sister and brother-in-law were arrested for allegedly giving him a place to hide while police tried to track him down. Juan Carlos Castro, 29, and Shari Loveland-Castro, 24, both of the 2400 block of East Barnett Road in Medford, were booked in the jail on charges of hindering prosecution, Medford police said. They are no longer listed in the jail, records show.
    Loveland-Flores, a suspected associate of the Sureños gang, is believed to have fired three shots from a truck during a May 7 altercation at the corner of Benson Street and Dakota Avenue in Medford. The truck sped away after the shooting.
    Police said the altercation began as a verbal exchange between Sureños and Norteños gang members that escalated when a bottle was thrown. Then the gun came out.
    "It was really one of those gang-related incidents where you don't need much of a motive other than your perception of the person in the rival gang," Budreau said.
    No one was hit by the shots, but investigators recovered bullet casings at the scene. The incident was one of three drive-by shootings that rocked west Medford in a four-month span. No injuries or deaths were reported in any of the incidents.
    Witness accounts pointed to Loveland-Flores' involvement in the May shooting, and police began their search.
    "We spent a lot of resources and efforts trying to locate him," Budreau said, adding police received tips he had fled to California.
    After more than two months of searching, police got word Loveland-Flores had returned to the area. Investigators began surveillance of houses where Loveland-Flores' family lived. At 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, officers saw him leave a house in the 2400 block of East Barnett Road. He fled on his bicycle but was taken into custody, police said.
    "Once he saw that he was clearly outnumbered, he went down on the ground and obeyed (police) commands," Budreau said.
    Loveland-Flores has not given a statement since his arrest, police said.
    Loveland-Flores has been on probation since December 2011 following disorderly conduct and theft charges, according to Juvenile Justice officials. He had also recently pleaded guilty to a third-degree assault charge.
    The teen attended high school at South Medford and was a former participant in a cooperative basketball program overseen by Kids Unlimited and Medford Rotary.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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