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Santa Maria

Five arrested following foot pursuit with police

Five gang members and associates were arrested Wednesday afternoon following a foot pursuit with Santa Maria Police Department officers.

Responding at 3:30 p.m. to a report of gang members gathering, throwing gang signs and brandishing a handgun at Preisker Park, Santa Maria Police Lt. Mark Streker said the suspects fled after officers arrived.

One of the suspects reportedly threw a handgun over the fence before scaling it, according to Streker. Officers scaled the fence and continued the pursuit until they apprehended the suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Carlos Palma-Velazquez. The loaded handgun was recovered nearby.

Palma-Velazquez was booked into jail for resisting arrest, possessing a firearm and gang-association crimes. Four other suspects, either documented gang members or gang associates, were also arrested and booked for probation violations.

Backpack, school supplies giveaway planned

Santa Maria and local nonprofit One Nation 805 will hold the inaugural Backpack Giveaway, which will provide youth with free backpacks and other school supplies, on Sunday.

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The event, which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, 600 S McClelland St., will provide backpacks and other school supplies to youths from 5 to 18 years old.

One Nation 805 will arrange for barbers and hairstylists to be on-site to provide free haircuts. Music will be played throughout the event by 95.7 The Beat personality DJ Ewrek.

There will also be information booths from the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety and the U.S. armed forces.

One Nation 805 was founded to unite football fans from across the Central Coast. The nonprofit organizes fundraising events and volunteers to help families in need.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact the Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.

-- Staff reports