The East Palo Alto Police Department held a special press briefing to make a major announcement. Police officials said that they had identified three suspects, whom they thought were involved in two recent homicides: the murder of Catherine Fisher, 19, which occurred on July 13, 2011, and the murder of Hugo Chavez, 26, which occurred on July 19, 2011.
Police attribute the progress in the two cases to vital leads from members of the community. East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero said, “The recent homicides have jarred the community into action, and when the community gets involved, change happens.”
In responding to the multiple homicides, which occurred in East Palo Alto over the past two weeks, the city's Police Chief Ron Davis said, “We will not tolerate this level of violence. We want to go the next six months without another homicide.”
Davis said that his department is increasing the number of officers patrolling the city’s streets by 25% and will have 12 officers working overtime and on their days off for the next month to patrol the streets in the late evening and in the early morning -- a key time for the occurrence of violent incidents in the city.
The police department believes that the murders of Fisher and Chavez were committed by members of a violent trio of young Hispanic men, whose recent crimes span from East Palo Alto to Grand Junction, Colorado. The members of the trio are identified as Christian Fuentes, 20, Jaime Cardenas, 19, and Fidel Silva, 24, all from East Palo Alto. The suspects are also wanted in Grand Junction, Colorado for two robberies, a burglary and a triple shooting and murder.
Christian Fuentes was arrested last week by the East Palo Alto and Fremont Police Department and is in custody for a parole violation. He is believed to be the member of the group with ties to Grand Junction, Colorado. Both Cardenas and Silva remain at-large and are wanted for the Colorado murder and for questioning in the two East Palo Alto murders.
Chief Davis said that there is significant evidence tying the suspects to the crimes. However, at this time, the police will not release the specifics of the case. Davis also acknowledged the possibility that the homicides were related to the shooting that killed one individual and wounded another on July 24, 2011 in a parking lot on East Bayshore Road.
During the press briefing, which was held on Monday, July 25, the police said that they are still investigating this most recent crime and will determine if there are any connections that can be made between the last shootings and the previous ones.
The East Palo Alto Police Department asks, as always, for anyone with information about the shootings to call the police department’s anonymous tip line at (650) 853-8477 or leave an anonymous text-a-tip at (650) 409-7692..
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