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Man Nabbed for Near-Deadly Hammer Attack of Petaluma Co-Worker Fixing Chicken Coops

After an "unprovoked attack," the suspect reportedly stole a compact car from Petaluma and drove to confess his crimes to his aunt in Humboldt County, where he was arrested, police say.

Juan Luis Ayala Jr. Courtesy Police/KCRA.com
Juan Luis Ayala Jr. Courtesy Police/KCRA.com
A Modesto man suspected of beating a co-worker with a hammer and stealing a car in Petaluma was arrested in Humboldt County Tuesday night, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said.

Sonoma County sheriff's deputies responded around 11 a.m. Tuesday to a ranch on Bailey Avenue in unincorporated Sonoma County just outside Petaluma where a man repairing chicken coops was beaten in the face with a hammer, Sgt. Shannon McAlvain said.

The victim lost consciousness and was attacked again while he was on the ground, McAlvain said. The victim said the attack was unprovoked and he had no idea why he was attacked, McAlvain said.

Two other workers at the ranch tackled the suspect and tried to detain him but he broke free and fled, McAlvain said.

The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Juan Luis Ayala of Modesto, McAlvain said.

At 11:40 a.m., a citizen flagged down a Petaluma police officer on Pine Lane in Petaluma to report their vehicle was stolen and Ayala was identified as the suspect, McAlvain said.

Humboldt County sheriff's deputies responded at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to a report of an unwanted person at a residence in the 16000 block of state Highway 254 in Weott, Humboldt County sheriff's Lt. Steve Knight said.

While responding to the call, a woman informed the dispatch center the unwanted person was Ayala, and that he was wanted for attempted murder in Sonoma County, Knight said.

Ayala traveled to his aunt's house in Humboldt County and told her about the crimes he committed in Sonoma County, McAlvain said. The aunt then called Humboldt County sheriff's deputies, McAlvain said.

Humboldt County sheriff's deputies confirmed with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office that Ayala was wanted for attempted murder with a hammer and vehicle theft, Knight said.

Deputies entered the residence and arrested Ayala without incident, Knight said.

He was booked in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility under $500,000 bail, Knight said. Sonoma County sheriff's deputies drove to Humboldt County to pick up Ayala and return him to Sonoma County.

Ayala was not yet booked into the Sonoma County jail as of early this afternoon, a jail spokesman said.

The California Highway Patrol located the black 2000 Toyota Echo that Ayala stole in Petaluma in the South Fork High School parking lot in Miranda, Humboldt County, Knight said.

--Bay City News
Roberto April 17, 2014 at 09:18 PM
The victim was obviously killed with an unregistered hammer. If the weapon had been registered, the crime never would have happened. California hasn't gone far enough. We need to register all hammers, baseball bats and rolled up newspapers.

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