Shooting, dragstrip stabbing related

Chico police and Butte County sheriff’s deputies are working both ends of a case they believe started with a stabbing at an illegal drag strip near Durham and culminated in a brawl and shooting in downtown Chico at about 1:40 a.m. Saturday.

Police Wednesday released the name of the suspect they believe fired the shots, a man originally from Palo Alto who apparently has family connections in Butte County. That suspect is Jesus “Manny” Farias, 24, a Hispanic male, 5” 6', 165 pounds, who sometimes wears a mustache and goatee.

The shooting occurred at Fourth and Main streets in downtown Chico just after a caller to 911 reported a brawl at that location. The victim, 19-year-old Chicoan Johnny Savanesy, was hit twice with a small-caliber handgun, receiving wounds that were considered non-life-threatening. The shooter apparently shot six or seven times before fleeing the scene, either on foot or possibly in a fellow combatant’s car. Chico police recovered the car they believe Farias was driving that night.

“A crowd of people was fighting in the street at Fourth Street and Main, and all of a sudden this guy starts shooting,” Chico police Detective Sergeant Dave Barrow said. “[Savanesy] was in the middle of the street when he was hit, then managed to stagger to the side of the road.”

Savanesy was transported to Enloe Medical Center for treatment.

Citing interviews with the victim and others at the scene, Barrow said the shooting was related to a stabbing that happened earlier that night at Seven Mile Lane near Durham, an area long known to local car buffs as a surreptitious drag strip. A gun was also apparently brandished at that incident, but it is unclear by whom. It isn’t known yet whether Savenesy was involved in the earlier incident, but police believe he was there when it happened.

“We don’t know what the fight was over,” Barrow said. “We don’t think our victim is the stabber out there. We do know it is connected.”

A gang motive is possible, Barrow said, but not suspected at this time.