In a break from the norm the SAPD has arrested two gangbangers in connected with two homicides – and SAPD Chief Carlos Rojas, who may be barely clinging to his job at this point, announced reward money of up to $50K is being offered for information regarding this past week’s four homicides, according to the O.C. Register.
Chief Rojas announced at a press conference that “It’s pretty unusual to have as many as we have had in that period of time,” indicating that he has apparently forgotten that we had 27 shootings in the month of January, this year.
Rojas also had more to say about the death of 23-year old Joseph Frank Garcia, a documented gangbanger from Orange whose bullet-riddled body was found in an alley behind the Food 4 Less store that has been empty for some time, at the 1900 block of North Grand Avenue.
It turns out that Garcia was found next to a tan Honda Accord that had been reported stolen out of Costa Mesa.
To add to the tragedy, Garcia’s 27-year old cousin, Trisha Irene Verdugo, was also killed when she showed up the day after Garcia’s murder to mourn his death. Verdugo was a nurse and the mother of a 2-year old little girl, and she had no gang affiliation. She was at a makeshift memorial that had been erected to honor Garcia, in the parking lot of the vacant Food 4 Less, when someone in her group got into a confrontation with the occupants of a nearby vehicle.
Verdugo and two others tried to walk away from the vehicle’s occupants, but the driver of the vehicle ran her over and killed her.
The suspects in that homicide, Sonny Steven Zieres, 26, a documented gangbanger, and his fiance, Claudia Trejo, 29, both Orange residents, surrendered Monday to SAPD detectives. Zieres is thought to have been the driver who ran over and killed Verdugo while Trejo was a passenger in his car.
Zieres has since been charged with murder with enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon. He is facing up to 56 years to life in prison if he is convicted.
Trejo is also in big trouble. She was charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact and may end up jail for three years in jail if she is convicted.
Santiago Trejo, 20, a Santa Ana gangbanger, was killed in another recent homicide, that was reported at around 1:45 p.m. on Sunday at the 800 block of West Cubbon Street. Trejo was not related to Claudia Trejo.
Trejo and his friends, 19-year old Nick Torres; 20-year old Manuel Saucedo and 19-year old Jose Brian Heredia were all intending to assault a rival gangbanger with a baseball bat at the 800 block of South Flower St., according to the SAPD.
The four men chased the rival gangbanger to a home near West Cubin and Garnsey streets but then, in an act of ultimate karma, another rival gangbanger fatally shot Trejo.
The surviving gangbangers, Torres, Saucedo and Heredia, were all arrested on suspicion of murder under something called the “Provocative Act” doctrine, which applies when an individual commits an act that provokes another person into killing someone, according to the OCDA.
Jamie De Castilla Campos, an 18-year old alleged Santa Ana gangbanger, was killed in a third homicide incident that occurred at around 10:40 p.m. on Sunday in an alley in the 600 block of East Pine Street. Campos is suspected of being in a drug deal when he was shot and killed, according to the SAPD.
The OCDA, Tony Rackauckas, said at today’s press conference that he is determined to catch those who are responsible for the unsolved slayings. Well let’s hope he doesnt’ resort to using jail snitches this time!
The SAPD is offering up to a reward of up to $50K for any information that will lead to the filing of charges against any of the homicide suspects. The reward amount will be based on the value of the information.
If you have any information please call the SAPD at 714-245-8390.