Suspect ID’d in Sobrato apartment murder

Property management taped notices to the doors of each residence at Sobrato Apartments Monday morning. 

The suspect in the July 22 murder of a 21-year-old man at Sobrato Transitional Apartments on Monterey Street is “actively avoiding” police contact – and because police have not obtained the handgun used in the shooting, he is considered armed and dangerous.

Fernando Minero, 24 of Gilroy, is wanted for manslaughter in the death of Martin Rojas, a 21-year-old Gilroy resident, who died at Saint Louise Regional Hospital from a gunshot wound to the neck the night of the incident, according to Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao.

Steve Lowney, deputy district attorney, will be prosecuting the case in the South County Courthouse, once Minero is located by police.

Lowney had few details as to why Minero is being charged with manslaughter instead of homicide, but did say that the case was removed from the homicide unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office because the investigation determined homicide charges were not warranted.

Minero, a Hispanic man, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. He is the only suspect wanted in the murder of Rojas.

“At one point, we received information that at one point he had fled the country to avoid police,” Gallacinao said. His current whereabouts are unknown to police.

Lowney believes that Rojas and Minero were drinking and “socializing” with a few other people in apartment 202 at the Sobrato Transitional Apartments  July 22 when the evening got out of hand, leading to Rojas getting shot once in the neck. Details of how and why Rojas was shot remain clouded, but Lowney did say that Minero drove Rojas to the hospital, where he was admitted at 8:30 p.m.

“This really tells you why it was charged the way it is,” Lowney said of the suspect driving the victim to the hospital. Lowney said it is unclear if Minero stayed at the hospital when Rojas died.

“Part of the problem is our witnesses are terrible, so details like how many people were in the apartment at the time is sketchy,” Lowney said.

Lowney said it is unclear if the tenant of the apartment where the shooting occurred was home at the time.

The tenant’s name is Julie Pena, according to a late rent notice taped to her second-floor apartment’s door on July 26.

“The rent on this property has been due and unpaid for 14 or more consecutive days and the owner believes that you have abandoned the property,” the letter read.

Pena did not respond to the Dispatch’s attempts for contact.

On July 23, Rebecca Rojas Luna posted a memorial photo of a  man by the name of Martin Rojas Cambero, who was “murdered” (according to her page) on July 22 in California.

“This isn’t easy and I hope someday soon your murderer will be caught and pay for what he has done to our family…I feel for your mother, father, brother and sisters, your girlfriend and baby on the way…may we as family take her and lead her, and let her know what a good, loving person you were,” Rojas Luna wrote in the  photo’s caption.

On Aug. 16, Rojas Luna added another photo of the 21-year-old man, with Spanish text in the background, celebrating his life and lamenting his death.  

Police believe the shooting was not gang-related.

Contact the GPD with any information regarding this incident at 846-0350.

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