Tuesday Morning News Roundup
Woman Arrested On Suspicion Of Stabbing Another Woman Saturday
A 38-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of stabbing another woman after an argument in Gilroy on Saturday, a police sergeant said.
Officers responded to a report of a possible stabbing in the 300 block of Welburn Avenue on Saturday, police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza said.
Arriving officers found a 42-year-old Gilroy woman suffering from multiple stab wounds to her upper body, Espinoza said.
Emergency responders arrived to aid the woman and she was airlifted to a trauma center for injuries considered life-threatening, he said.
Police obtained a description of the suspect, found her a short distance away and arrested her without incident, Espinoza said.
The suspect, identified as Gilroy resident Tanika Billie Johnson, was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder.
She is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.
An investigation indicated that the suspect and victim had an argument before the assault, he said.
As of Monday afternoon, the victim was in critical condition but is now expected to survive, according to Espinoza.
Man In Stable Condition After Shooting This Afternoon, No Arrests
A man was injured in a shooting in Oakland on Monday afternoon, police said.
Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 1200 block of 80th Avenue near the 81st Avenue Branch Library around 3:50 p.m., Officer J. Moore said.
Arriving officers found a man suffering from gunshot wounds, Moore said.
The victim was transported to a hospital where he is in stable condition, according to Moore.
No arrests were made and no suspect information was immediately available.
Police Investigating Hit-And-Run Collision Near Lake Merritt
Oakland police are investigating a hit-and-run collision near Lake Merritt that happened Monday night.
Officers responded to a report of the hit-and-run at Lakeshore Avenue and Foothill Boulevard around 9:20 p.m., police Officer J. Moore said.
It appears a vehicle struck a motorcyclist and bicyclist before speeding off, he said.
Ambulances have been called to the scene, Moore said.
The Oakland Fire Department also responded to the crash.
Several streets in the area were closed due to the collision Monday night.
No further details were immediately available.
39-Foot Boat Destroyed In Fire In Marina Area
A 39-foot private boat caught on fire in the Redwood City marina area Monday afternoon, a fire battalion chief said.
Fire crews responded to a report of the blaze in the area of 1450 Maple Street near the Bair Island Aquatic Center around 4:10 p.m., Redwood City Battalion Chief Dan Abrams said.
The one-alarm fire was under control about an hour later, he said.
It took crews until about 8 p.m. to completely extinguish the flames because they battled the blaze from the dock and shore, Abrams said.
The boat was destroyed in the fire and it will be pulled out of the water on Tuesday, he said.
The boat was unoccupied at the time of the fire, according to Abrams.
Abrams did not have a damage estimate available Monday night.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Jury Set To Begin Deliberating In Ssf Racketeering And Murder Trial
A federal jury is set to begin deliberating in San Francisco today in a lengthy racketeering trial in which two alleged members of a South San Francisco gang are accused of murdering three rival gang members in 2010.
Victor Flores, 22, of Petaluma, and Benjamin Campos-Gonzalez, 23, of San Mateo, are each charged with three counts of murder in aid of racketeering in the shooting deaths of three young men on a South San Francisco street on the evening of Dec. 22, 2010.
Prosecutors allege Flores and Campos-Gonzalez were members of the Norteno-affiliated 500 Block/C Street gang in South San Francisco and that the victims were members or associates of a rival Norteno gang, the Cypress Park Locos.
Flores and Campos-Gonzales are on trial together with alleged fellow gang members Armando Acosta, 29, of Pacifica, and Mario Bergren, 25, of South San Francisco, on a total of 26 charges.
While only Flores and Campos-Gonzales are accused of carrying out the murders, all four men are accused of conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise, conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering and conspiring to attack enemies with dangerous weapons.
The jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston was given the case Monday afternoon after five days of prosecution and defense closing arguments and is due to begin deliberating at 8:30 a.m. today. The trial began on June 26.
Prosecutor Stephen Meyer, an assistant U.S. attorney, told jurors Monday in his closing argument that 500 Block/C Street members believed the other gang had threatened their territory.
Prosecutors allege that Flores and Campos-Gonzales were among four 500 Block/C street members who rode in a Chevrolet Impala in which they stalked a group of seven young men on Eighth Lane near the intersection of Linden Avenue at dusk the evening of the shootings.
They allege Flores and Joseph Ortiz, 23, of South San Francisco, were the shooters and Campos-Gonzales drove the car. After spotting the victims, Flores and Ortiz got out of the car and started firing, Meyer told the jury Monday.
Ortiz pleaded guilty last year to the three murders and other charges and was sentenced by Illston to five consecutive life terms plus 60 years in prison.
The victims who died in the attack were Omar Cortez, 18, Gonzalo Avalos, 19, and Hector Flores, 20, all of South San Francisco.
Victor Flores and Campos-Gonzales are also charged with four attempted murders of the three men who were wounded and another who was unharmed.
Defense attorneys argued last week that there was no proof the defendants conspired to racketeer. They also challenged the credibility of prosecution witnesses, some of whom agreed to testify in hopes of getting reduced sentences.
Acosta’s defense attorney, Linda Fullerton, alleged some prosecution witnesses were “people who are desperate for their freedom and got very good deals from the government.”
Stuart Hanlon, representing Campos-Gonzales, said 500 Block/C Street included “individual kids doing individual bad acts,” but maintained, “It had nothing to do with conducting an enterprise.”
Flores is also accused of the attempted murders of three members a U.S. Homeland Security Department special response team who broke into his family’s house to arrest him at 4 a.m. on May 3, 2012.
The three agents were wounded, one seriously, by rifle shots.
Defense attorney Richard Mazer argued last week that Flores acted in self-defense and defense of his family because he believed the invaders were the same unknown enemies who had shot and wounded his younger brother in South San Francisco the previous year. The family had moved Petaluma to escape those enemies, he said.
He said there were at least 35 agents at the scene. “It looked like they were ready for war. It’s a military operation,” he said.
Meyer argued Flores must have known the agents were law enforcement officers because they repeatedly shouted “Police, show me your hands” and carried shields labeled “POLICE.”
The four men on trial are the last of 19 defendants named in a grand jury indictment in 2012. The other 15, including Ortiz and Whipple, have pleaded guilty to various charges.
Wanted Parolee Is Charged With Attempted Murder
A wanted parolee who was at large has been charged with attempted murder for alleging slitting a friend’s throat in an attack in San Leandro on Wednesday morning, police said Monday.
Authorities said 31-year-old Elroy Gomez Jr. is suspected of stabbing the victim, a 41-year-old San Leandro man, at the home in the 900 block of Kramer Street where Gomez lives with his parents.
Police said they began their investigation after officers were dispatched to the vicinity of an Arco gas station at the intersection of Lewelling Boulevard and Washington Avenue at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday to investigate a report that a man who was bleeding from his neck was walking in the area.
The victim saw a deputy sheriff driving in the area and reported that he had been stabbed by a man he knew, police said.
The man was transported to Eden Medical Center’s Trauma Center in Castro Valley, where it was determined that he had suffered injuries not considered life-threatening, according to police. The man has since been treated and released from the hospital.
Detectives learned that the victim was visiting Gomez and the two men became involved in an argument that quickly turned violent, police said.
Gomez then used a knife to slit the victim’s throat two times, leaving lacerations to the front and side of his neck that were 2 to 3 inches long, police said. However, the victim’s carotid artery was not damaged, they said.
Detectives learned that Gomez was a wanted parolee at large and obtained an arrest warrant for Gomez charging him with attempted murder, according to police.
Undercover detectives conducted surveillance at Gomez’s residence throughout the day on Wednesday when he was spotted inside his house, contacted by police and safely arrested without incident, police said.
Detectives then served a search warrant at Gomez’s residence and collected evidence, including blood, inside and outside the residence, police said.
Gomez was scheduled to appear in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward on Monday to possibly enter a plea to the attempted murder charge against him.
Officials Say City Is In Earthquake Recovery Mode
Vallejo officials issued an update Monday that transitions the city from response to recovery mode following the 6.0-magnitude South Napa earthquake on Aug. 24.
As of Wednesday, 404 structures are yellow-tagged for partial specified use and 34 structures remain red-tagged, meaning it is uninhabitable, officials said. Overall, 2,049 earthquake-related inspections have been performed.
The city’s Building Division has issued 149 earthquake-related permits. The deadline to apply for quake-related permits at no cost has been extended to Oct. 30.
Vallejo officials are still cautioning residents and businesses to make sure site contractors, architects and engineers are licensed in California, bonded and insured.
The city’s Central Permit Center has returned to normal business hours, which are Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m.-noon.
The retail portion of the Main Post Office on Santa Clara Street is now open for business. More information about the city’s earthquake status is available at http://www.ci.vallejo.ca.us/EarthquakeStatus.
Motorist Dies After Driving About 100 Mph, Striking Car On I-880
A man, who witnesses said drove about 100 miles per hour, was killed Sunday night after he crashed into the rear of a car on Interstate Highway 880 in San Jose, according to the California Highway Patrol.
At 10:08 p.m. Sunday, CHP officers in San Jose were dispatched to the scene of the two-car collision on the southbound side of I-880 at The Alameda, CHP Officer Ross Lee said.
From an investigation, officers learned that the male driver of a Mercedes sedan had struck the back of a Honda CR-V carrying three people, CHP officials said.
Witnesses told officers they noticed the driver of the Mercedes heading south on I-880 at a high speed of about 100 mph before losing control and striking the Honda, CHP officials reported.
Honda also sped out of control due to the crash, struck the center divider wall and overturned on its side in the far left lane, officers said.
The Mercedes moved off the west edge of the roadway, preceded across the southbound I-880 on-ramp from The Alameda and struck a dirt embankment, ejecting the driver from the vehicle, CHP officials said.
Emergency responders from the San Jose Fire Department pronounced the driver of the Mercedes dead at the scene, the CHP reported.
The three people in the Honda were transported to a hospital after complaining of pain from minor injuries, Lee said.
Officers have not ruled out alcohol as a factor in the fatal crash and are waiting for results of a toxicology report from the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office, according to Lee.
Two Men Plead Not Guilty To Murder Of Pet Sitter
Two suspected gang members pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge stemming from the fatal shooting of a pet sitter in her East Oakland neighborhood in July 2013.
Stephon Lee, 23, of Richmond, and 22-year-old Mario Floyd of Oakland are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Oct. 27 for a pretrial hearing in the killing of Judy Salamon.
Oakland police said Salamon, 66, was fatally shot in the 2400 block of Fern Street at 1:24 p.m. on July 24, 2013, after she used her cellphone to take a video of Lee and Floyd committing a crime in her neighborhood.
Police said Salamon, who lived about a half-mile away in the 2700 block of Best Avenue, then followed the two men in her car but they shot her and took her cellphone. Salamon crashed her car into a parked car after she was shot.
Sgt. Mike Gantt said after Lee and Floyd were arrested and charged in April that police believe Lee shot Salamon. Floyd also is charged with murder because he allegedly drove the suspects’ car.
In addition to murder, Lee and Floyd are charged with the special circumstance of committing a murder during the course of a robbery.
Lee is also charged with being a felon in possession of a gun because he has two prior felony convictions, one for second-degree robbery in 2011 and one for possession of a firearm on Sept. 25, 2012.
Prosecutors said Floyd was convicted of carrying a loaded firearm in a city on July 16, 2013, only eight days before Salamon was murdered.
18-Year-Old Man Accused Of Stabbing 72-Year-Old Woman
An 18-year-old Richmond man has been charged with attempted murder and attempted carjacking for allegedly stabbing an elderly woman in Berkeley on Friday afternoon, police said Monday.
Kamau Berlin is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland at 2 p.m. today, authorities said.
The victim, a 72-year-old Oakland woman, is still in critical condition at a hospital, Berkeley police said.
Officers were called to the vicinity of Russell and Otis streets at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday after a woman was heard yelling for help in the area, police said.
Arriving officers saw a man matching the description given by callers who was fleeing the area and were able to detain him in the 2900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way after a foot pursuit, police said. The suspect later was identified as Berlin.
Police found the elderly woman suffering from severe injuries and she was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police said it appears that Berlin allegedly stabbed the woman several times during the attempted carjacking.
Police Arrest Man In Gang-Related Stabbing Of Teen Boy In Park
A 20-year-old San Jose man was arrested Saturday in the allegedly gang-related stabbing earlier this month of a 16-year-old boy, a San Jose police spokeswoman said.
The Police Department’s gang suppression unit arrested Paul George Gomez without incident and booked him into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of attempted murder for the Sept. 9 stabbing, Sgt. Heather Randol said.
Police were dispatched at 2:56 p.m. that day to Marijane Hamann Park at 2747 Westfield Ave. near Genevieve Lane about a report of a juvenile male who had been stabbed, police said.
The teen victim was transported to a hospital with wounds thought at first to be life-threatening, but his condition was later upgraded to serious, Randol said.
The suspect in the stabbing left the area before police could arrive, Randol said.
The investigation by the gang unit that led to the identification and arrest of Gomez determined that the stabbing was gang-related, Randol said.
Tank Holding 30k Gallons Of Asphalt Ruptures
Crews quickly controlled a small fire that broke out at an industrial plant in Vallejo on Monday afternoon after a 30,000-gallon tank containing liquid asphalt burst, a fire captain said.
The tank at the Syar Industries plant at 885 Lake Herman Road ruptured around 2 p.m., leaking asphalt oil, Vallejo fire Capt. Art Gonzalez said.
The contents of the first tank seeped into a second large tank holding flammable oils, Gonzalez said.
The ruptured tank caused a small insulation fire but the asphalt oil did not ignite and the spill was quickly contained, according to Gonzalez.
No injuries were reported and there is no threat to the public.
In addition to Vallejo firefighters, crews from Benicia, the nearby Valero oil refinery and Solano County Environmental Health were also called to the scene.
The cause of the rupture remains under investigation. Officials at Syar Industries were not immediately available to comment on the incident.
40-Year-Old Man Arrested In Tenderloin Shooting Friday Night
A 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a shooting in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood on Friday night, a police spokesman said Monday.
Marcos Guillen was arrested following the shooting, which was reported at 8:42 p.m. Friday in the 400 block of Ellis Street, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.
The 57-year-old victim, who said he did not know Guillen, was shot in the groin and leg, Esparza said.
The victim was taken to a hospital in stable condition, according to police.
The shooting suspect fled but was later arrested and identified as Guillen, Esparza said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.
Alleged Gunman In July Double Shooting In Richmond Arrested In Vallejo
An 18-year-old man wanted in connection with a double shooting in July that left a man and a teenage boy critically injured in Richmond has been arrested, a police spokeswoman said Monday.
Officers arrested Demetrius Robinson, 18, of Richmond, in Vallejo on Friday night, nearly two months after the July 31 double shooting at an apartment in the 4900 block of Bayview Avenue.
Robinson allegedly knocked on the apartment’s front door around 10:55 a.m. that day. When one of the victims answered the door, Robinson allegedly opened fire, striking a man in his 20s and a teenage boy.
The two victims were taken to John Muir Medical Center in critical condition.
Information about their current condition was not immediately available.
Two small children and a second adult inside the apartment at the time of the shooting were uninjured, according to police.
Police later identified Robinson as the suspected shooter and obtained a warrant for his arrest.
Woman Killed After Exiting Car On I-680 Identified
A woman who was struck and killed after pulling over and exiting her car on Interstate Highway 680 in Walnut Creek late Sunday night has been identified.
Diana Quezada-Martinez, 24, of Pittsburg, was driving onto southbound Highway 680 from the Rudgear Road on-ramp when she apparently experienced car problems and pulled over to the shoulder, according to the California Highway Patrol and Contra Costa County coroner’s office.
A short time later, Quezada-Martinez exited her car and was hit by a Mercedes-Benz sedan heading onto the on-ramp, CHP Officer John Fransen said.
She died from her injuries a short time later.
The driver of the Mercedes stopped at the scene and cooperated with the CHP investigation.
Neither the victim nor the Mercedes driver appears to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, Fransen said.
Fransen said the case is the latest of several fatal freeway collisions in Contra Costa County in recent weeks.
“The freeway is a very dangerous place, even on-ramps and off-ramps,” he said. “We ask people to exercise extreme caution around freeways and if a vehicle becomes disabled, it’s usually best to stay in the vehicle and call 911 so we can get out there.”
Anyone with additional information about the collision is asked to call the CHP’s Contra Costa area office at (925) 646-4980.
Man Arrested In Killing Of Woman Whose Body Was Set On Fire
Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man in connection with the killing last month of a woman whose body was set on fire near a reservoir west of Morgan Hill, a sheriff’s spokesman said Monday.
On Sept. 12, deputies located and arrested Edgardo Gutierrez, 21, in connection with the homicide of 35-year-old Julie Teresa Calocci of San Jose, sheriff’s Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.
The sheriff’s office identified Gutierrez as the suspect and made the arrest based on evidence recovered at the scene where Calocci’s body was found and from witness statements, according to Stenderup.
At 8:11 a.m. on Aug. 28, deputies answered a 911 call from a witness who reported seeing flames coming from a body 20 to 30 feet off of Oak Glen Avenue at Uvas Road in an unincorporated county area near the Chesbro Reservoir, sheriff’s officials said.
A passing motorist pulled over after seeing smoke and saw the burning body on an embankment off of the roadway, deputies said.
The victim, later identified as Calocci, was so badly charred that authorities were initially unable to determine the person’s gender, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies are asking those who may have information about the homicide to notify the sheriff’s office at (408) 808-4431.
Gas Leak In Bernal Heights Capped
Crews have capped a gas leak at a construction site in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood Monday afternoon, according to a PG&E spokesman.
Fire crews and PG&E personnel were dispatched a short time after 11:30 a.m. to a report of a ruptured gas line in the 100 block of Crescent Avenue, according to PG&E spokesman Jason King.
King said two residential buildings in the area were evacuated, but the evacuation order was lifted around noon once crews stopped the flow of gas from the ruptured line.
Only one PG&E customer’s service was affected due to the break, the spokesman said.
Utility personnel expect to have the line repaired around 4 p.m., he said.
A construction crew not affiliated with PG&E was digging in the area with a backhoe, causing the gas line rupture, King said.
He said the incident “highlights the importance of calling 811 before starting any digging to protect life, health and property.”
Man Injured In Visitacion Valley Shooting Sunday Night
A 47-year-old man was injured in a shooting in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood on Sunday night, police said Monday.
The shooting was reported at 8:46 p.m. in the 200 block of Blythedale Avenue, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
The victim was walking to meet his cousin when he heard gunshots and felt burning sensations in his forearm and hip, Esparza said.
He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds that were not considered life-threatening, Esparza said.
The victim did not see the shooter and no suspect information was immediately available Monday, according to Esparza.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.