Police arrest 5 in series of shootings

Omar Quezeda-Perez

Hollister police officers arrest three men suspected of shooting firearms near downtown Hollister in what officers say could be gang-related incidents. The officers also arrested two other men for burglary, in what they also believe to be a gang-related crime.

The shooting reports started on at 3 a.m. Friday, when officers responded to a report of shots fired into an apartment at 1501 Memorial Dr.

According to a police press release: No one was injured, but officers discovered a bullet had been fired through the front window of an apartment. A large rock had also been thrown through a window. No witnesses were located.

Later that day, at 6:40 p.m., officers responded to a report of several males fighting in the street at the intersection of Hawkins and Prune streets. Officers were told that the fight involved gang members and two shots had been fired. The involved parties had all fled by the time officers arrived at the scene. No witnesses were located connected to the incident and no evidence of a shooting was located.

On Saturday, a resident in the 600 block of Powell Street reported someone fired a shotgun into her home sometime during the night. No one was injured and the victim was unable to provide officers with information about possible suspects. A resident on Prune Street reported her home was also shot with a shotgun during the night. No one was injured, but officers reported that they learned it may have been retaliation for the Friday evening fight.

That same afternoon a resident on Hawkins Street reported finding a bullet hole in his vehicle. The resident believed it may have occurred during the Friday evening shooting. Officers said the victim appeared to be an unintended target.

Then on Saturday at 7 p.m., officers responded back to the same area of Prune Street after a report of a suspicious vehicle driving in the area. Officer Matt Weiss responded and located the vehicle in question, a gray Nissan Maxima occupied by five males. Weiss attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver drove off at high speeds to elude the officer. The driver abruptly stopped in the 1200 block of Sally Street where two passengers fled on foot.

The two men were stopped a few blocks away by a San Benito County sheriff’s deputy and a Hollister police officer. The two men, Edgar Lopez, 21, and Omar Quezeda-Perez, 20, of Hollister, were booked on charges of resisting arrest. The driver of the Nissan, Eduardo Cadena, 25, of Hollister, was arrested for felony evading in a vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol and an outstanding warrant for driving under the influence of alcohol. The remaining two passengers were released at the scene.

A few minutes later, officers were dispatched to a report of a suspicious gold Chevrolet suburban in the area of Sunnyslope Road and Airline Highway. The driver and front passenger wore red bandannas over their faces and simulated having a gun. As officers were checking the area, an incident was reported at the Cinderella Motel for a possible kidnapping in progress involving a gold Chevrolet Suburban and men with red bandannas on their faces. Arriving officers detained Alfonso Contreras, 18, and Michael Cortez, 26, of Hollister. After making contact with the victim the report of kidnapping was unsubstantiated. It was discovered a third male had fled via one of the room’s bathroom windows when officers arrived. This person has not yet been identified, but officers are pursuing leads.

As officers were investigating the incident at the Cinderella Motel, another incident was reported at the Hi Outlet Store at 550 Tres Pinos Rd. The reporting party said a man ran into the business wearing a bandanna over his face, stole some merchandise, and then ran to a waiting gold Chevrolet suburban occupied by two other males. This incident occurred just prior to the Cinderella Motel incident. The suspect in this case matches the description of the unidentified person who fled out the window of the Cinderella Motel.

Contreras and Cortez were both identified as the two occupants of the vehicle at the Hi Outlet, with Contreras as the driver. Contreras and Cortez were arrested and booked for being accessories to burglary.

The investigation is in its preliminary stage, however it appears all of these incidents are gang related.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents is requested to contact Detective Sergeant Dan Winn or Officer Carlos Rodriguez at 636-4330. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

Leave your comments