Relatives recall Santa Rosa man who died after being shot, left in downtown alley


The man who died this weekend after being shot and then left in a downtown Santa Rosa alley has been identified as Dominic Zumsteg, 24, of Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office.

Zumsteg was found by Santa Rosa police in an alley on the 800 block of Fourth Street early Saturday after a physical altercation downtown.

Suffering from a single gunshot wound, he was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he later died, police said in a news release.

Family and community members mourn Zumsteg, who loved ones described as “an amazing dad, son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend,” according to a GoFundMe campaign created in line the day after his death.

“He had a larger than life heart and loved his family fiercely. Life from this day forward will never be the same,” Casey Arents-Gonzalez and Cathy Gagnon, his mother and aunt, wrote in the online fundraiser.

All GoFundMe donations will go into a trust fund for Zumsteg’s young daughter, Lily, according to the site.

“They had an incredible bond. She still doesn’t know her daddy isn’t coming home. Her life is forever changed. Her daddy will never hug her again; her daddy won’t be at any of her recitals. gymnastics and will not witness any of his other accomplishments,” the campaign added.

The page had raised over $17,000 of its $25,000 goal by Tuesday afternoon.

The inquest into Zumsteg’s death continued on Tuesday.

According to Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Brandon Matthies, the fatal incident began Friday night when Zumsteg and a friend visited a bar on Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa.

They were later joined by two 17-year-olds, who were refused entry because they were minors, he added.

The group “left, and as they left, words were exchanged between them and some people in the area,” Matthies said. A witness told officers he heard the argument outside the bar shortly before he heard gunshots.

Investigators determined that there had been a physical fight between the two groups in the parking lot of an adjacent business, before Zumsteg and his companions got into a car on Healdsburg Avenue to flee the scene.

In the car, one of the 17-year-old passengers began firing a gun, officials said.

“At some point, while this person was firing bullets, one of those bullets struck and hit the front passenger,” who was identified as Zumsteg, Matthies said.

Officers found video footage from Fourth Street that showed a beige sedan pulling up in front of a business, with occupants removing a body and placing it in a nearby alley.

Police arrested three people, an adult and two teenagers, who were allegedly with Zumsteg that night.

There are no outstanding suspects, according to Matthies.

On Tuesday, Zumsteg’s grandmother, Sylvia “Sunny” Kee, was emotional as she remembered her son’s son.

He was “a prankster, much like his father”, who saw the world through special, playful eyes. He loved baseball and was good with animals, the grandmother recalled.

“Anyone who loves animals has a big heart,” said Kee, who moved to Texas four years ago after raising her family in North Bay.

In his teens and early adulthood, Zumsteg struggled as he “worked to straighten himself out,” Kee said, though she doesn’t know the specifics.

The day before his death, Zumsteg had appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court on charges of misdemeanor domestic violence, court records show. But the conviction did not take place. Instead, it was postponed until April.

Additional details about the incident that preceded Zumsteg’s indictment and subsequent conviction were not available.

“That doesn’t stop me from loving this boy,” Kee said of her grandson’s run-ins with the law. “He’s not in pain and he has peace right now – that’s where I’m from.”

She recounted a happier memory of her grandson, when he and his brother — when they were young teenagers — came to visit her in Nevada City. It was there that Zumsteg got her first taste of country life — playing archery, lighting bonfires, riding mountain bikes, she said.

“They just had fun being guys,” Kee added, his voice clearing momentarily.

She said her family is still awaiting more details about the events surrounding her death.

The adult suspect, Antonio Boyd, 24, of Petaluma, was taken to the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of being an accessory to an after-the-fact murder.

The two 17-year-olds, one from Rohnert Park and the other from Petaluma, were being held at Juvenile Hall. One faces possible murder charges, while the other was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to an after-the-fact murder.

The names of the teenage suspects have not been released due to their age.

“How sad? What a stupid action,” Kee said. “What a loss of life.”

You can reach editor Emily Wilder at 707-521-5337 or [email protected] On Twitter @vv1lder.


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