SAN JOSE — Police announced Tuesday they have arrested two people and are on the hunt for two others for the April 3 killing of a young father, gunned down for what relatives said was driving the wrong-colored car in a gang-plagued neighborhood in East San Jose.
Richard James Guerrero, 21, of San Jose, was arrested on suspicion of murder with gang enhancements, and 20-year-old San Jose resident David Ramiro Martinez was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to the murder, both in connection with the slaying of 25-year-old Eric Mendoza.
Records show both suspects were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail April 8 and are currently being held without bail. Investigators are treating the case as gang-related but declined to release any more details about a motive in the killing that left a 5-month-old boy fatherless.
Authorities have also issued arrest warrants for 20-year-old San Jose resident James Guerrero, who is suspected of being the driver, and 19-year-old Isaac Martinez, who is wanted in an accessory offense.
Police, relatives, and witnesses in the neighborhood around Lanai Avenue and Denali Way, near Tully Road and Highway 101, said Mendoza got a ride home from a late shift as a machinist in Belmont. When he was dropped off around 3:30 a.m., he went to re-park his red coupe because street sweepers were coming later that morning.
At some point while he was driving, a bullet sailed through the car and hit Mendoza, who then crashed into a parked car, just blocks from the apartment he shared with his family.
Relatives suggested Mendoza, who they said had no gang ties, may have been targeted because he was driving a red car in a neighborhood where gang activity predominantly involves Sureño street gangs, which claim the color blue and clash with their red-bearing Norteño rivals.
The killing marked the city’s 11th homicide of the year.
The whereabouts of James Guerrero and Isaac Martinez are not known. Police urge anyone who sees them to call 911.
Anyone with information about the case can contact Detective Sgt. Ray Avalos or Detective Brian McDonald at 408-277-5283 or leave a tip with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or with svcrimestoppers.org.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.
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