Friends, family celebrate Tara Romero’s birthday

Annette Nevarez is comforted by good friend and co-worker Kim

Friends and family of Tara Romero celebrated the teen murder victim’s birthday yesterday at the scene of her death.

Romero, who was killed in the Nov. 4, 2011 drive-by shooting at Cosmo and Del Monte avenues, would have been 15 Feb. 2.

Those who gathered to celebrate her birthday and her life released helium balloons into the air, many with hand-written messages to the late Sobrato High School freshman. They also sang “Happy Birthday.”

After that, the group continued to celebrate with dinner at Dutchman’s Pizza in south Morgan Hill.

Three other teens – Romero’s friends – were shot and suffered injuries diring the same incident. Police think was mistakenly targeted by the shooters.

Shortly after the drive-by attack, police arrested Esmeling Bahena, 18 of Morgan Hill; Ricardo Diaz, 19 of Morgan Hill; Fernando Mateo Lopez, 20 of Gilroy; Primitivo Hernandez, 23 of San Jose; and Ramon Gutierrez, 17 of Morgan Hill at a residence on Barnell Avenue.

The Santa Clara County district attorney’s office charged the five suspects with murder and attempted murder, with enhancements for their alleged involvement in the illegal Sureno street gang.

Their next court date is March 1 in San Jose, for a plea hearing.

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