What started off as a fun night of bar hopping with friends in downtown Petaluma ended tragically for a 24-year-old Windsor man who was fatally stabbed early Sunday morning.
Police have made no arrests in the murder of Cristian Nunez-Castro, who was slain in an altercation in the Golden Concourse walkway between Kentucky Street and the Keller Street parking garage. An autopsy showed he suffered a fatal chest wound, Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said.
Nunez-Castro, a landscaper and father of a 3-year-old son, did not spend much time in Petaluma, but decided to go out with friends to some Kentucky Street bars on Saturday night, according to his brother, Santiago Nunez.
“It was just one of those nights. He wanted to hang out with friends,” said Nunez, who lives in Sacramento. “I don’t know what happened. My guess is that they came from a bar and everyone was drinking. I wish I knew more, but that won’t bring him back.”
He said his brother didn’t typically go to bars looking for fights.
Police are still trying to piece together a narrative of the events leading up to the incident and are asking for the public’s help, Lyons said.
Nunez-Castro was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he died from his wounds, police said. A second victim in his 20s, whose name and place of residence have not been released, was treated at the scene for a wound on his arm, police said.
“We don’t know what initiated the altercation,” Lyons said. “We’re just trying to contact witnesses and see any surveillance video that may have been present at the time. It was around 1:40 in the morning and there were not a lot of people down there except for the bar and night club crowd.”
Lyons said the suspected assailant fled on foot in the direction of the Keller Street parking garage, leaving a trail of blood. Police tracked the blood drops up Telephone Alley to Washington Street and into the parking garage, where the trail stopped, Lyons said.
A tipster reported hearing a car drive away at a “high rate of speed” around the time of the incident, Lyons said.
The fatal stabbing was the first homicide in Petaluma since January 2016, when Harold Coombes, 86, shot and killed his bedridden wife, Bertha, 83, before committing suicide, in what family members described as a mercy killing. The last homicide before that was the 2014 shooting death of Arturo Hinojosa, 49, in his west Petaluma home.
The downtown area around Kentucky Street has been the scene of several fights and assaults, especially on weekend nights when the bars close.
“I certainly hate to hear about anybody that died, but I’m not surprised,” said Joel Sealfon, walking with his wife, Heidi, from their Kentucky Street business. “You’ve got three bars pumping out booze every day. Kids drink. They don’t know how to control themselves.”
The Sealfons said they often dine out downtown, but wouldn’t come to Kentucky Street late at night.
Petaluma Chamber of Commerce CEO Onita Pellegrini said the business community is shaken after the unusual act of extreme violence in the heart of the city. “Everyone is concerned,” she said. “It’s a fatality and that’s very rare for Petaluma, certainly, and it’s something that would of course cause people to talk.”