The 17-year-old who is accused of an East Palo Alto shooting that killed a 3-month-old could be charged as an adult when he appears in court today, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Tuesday.
The suspect, who has not been identified because he is a juvenile, is accused of opening fire on a car containing a family leaving a baby shower early Sunday morning.
Ivonne Garcia-Lopez, 22, was in the back seat of the car with her children during the shooting and was wounded, as was her husband, 22-year-old Oscar Jimenez. The couple’s 3-month-old son Izack Jesus Jimenez was hit in the head by a bullet and later died. The couple’s 4-year-old son was unharmed in the shooting.
Prosecutors spent Tuesday reviewing the case that has shocked the community, and they will make a decision today whether to charge the teenager in adult court, Wagstaffe said.
The fatal shooting stemmed from a case of mistaken identity, according to East Palo Alto police. The 17-year-old suspect was allegedly seeking revenge for being beaten up by Sureño gang members last week in Redwood City, according to police.
The teen allegedly thought he saw two of the gang members on Wisteria Drive, near the home where the baby shower was taking place, police said. He fetched a gun and, with an accomplice, went back to to the scene, police said. They thought the two Sureños were in the car.
“But they were not,” Liu said.
The 17-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested in the 400 block of Larkspur Avenue about 12 hours after the shooting. A flood of tips from an outraged community led to the arrest, Liu said.
The 17-year-old was arrested and booked into San Mateo Juvenile Hall after providing statements implicating him in the crime, East Palo Alto police Chief Ronald Davis said.
Police said Monday that they think the 16-year-old, who is being held on a weapons charge that is being handled in juvenile court, was involved, but they were still building a case against him.
In a heart-wrenching news conference Monday, the mother of the slain infant detailed her futile attempt to save her child. She desperately tried to shield her two sons in the back seat while her husband stepped on the gas.
“They destroyed my family,” Garcia-Lopez said.