Suspects in Windsor robbery, Calistoga officer assault to appear in court Thursday

(Kent Porter/Press Democrat)

SANTA ROSA (BCN) — Two men suspected of robbing an armored car in Windsor, shooting a guard, and then shooting at Calistoga police while trying to escape on Tuesday are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, according to jail booking records.

Serge Gutsu, a 24-year-old Antelope resident, and Ivan Morales, a 23-year-old Lakeport resident, are both scheduled to appear in Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. They are being held in Sonoma County Jail without bail on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery and conspiracy.

According to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Gutsu and Morales started a two-county crime spree at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday when they robbed an armored car outside a Chase Bank in Windsor.

They allegedly pulled up in a blue Chevrolet Suburban behind the armored car while it was parked outside the bank in the Lakewood Shopping Center at 9018 Brooks Road. While wearing masks, the pair emerged from the SUV, shot a guard with a long gun and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the sheriff’s office.

The still-conscious guard was taken to a hospital and remained there Wednesday morning. The sheriff’s office did not disclose the extent of his injuries.

The sheriff’s office alerted surrounding law enforcement agencies to the suspects’ description and heard a short time later that Calistoga police had spotted them.

Calistoga police Officer Luis Paniagua spotted the Suburban at 2:21 p.m. as it was headed north on Petrified Forest Road just south of state Highway 128, according to Calistoga police.

Paniagua followed the Suburban onto Mitzi Drive and tried to pull the driver over. The Suburban stopped and one of the occupants, later identified as Gutsu, got out and opened fire on the officer.

Paniagua rammed Gutsu with the car, injuring him. Panigua suffered minor injuries when his airbags deployed, Napa County sheriff’s Capt. Keith Behlmer said on Wednesday. The officer did not return fire.Gutsu was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital while Paniagua was taken to St. Helena Hospital. Both of their injuries were minor, according to Calistoga police.As Gutsu was being arrested, Morales ran from the SUV and hid.

As Gutsu was being arrested, Morales ran from the SUV and hid. Calistoga residents were ordered to shelter in place as police searched the area with the help of Napa County sheriff’s deputies, as well as the Sonoma County SWAT team and helicopter and other area law enforcement agencies.

After a yard-to-yard and building-to-building search with a wide perimeter, Morales was found hiding in a bushy culvert at about 7 p.m. He immediately surrendered, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

The lockdown was lifted at about 7:30 p.m.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation into the armored car robbery.

Gutsu and Morales will likely face separate charges in Napa County for the assault on the officer and escape attempt.

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