Ex-Chief’s gun used in drug robbery, police say

Suspected in shooting

Two Gilroy teenagers face up to 24 years in prison in a case that almost killed one and might rank as the city’s dumbest-ever botched robbery.
And in a bizarre twist, a former Gilroy police chief’s handgun was used in the crime to shoot one of the alleged robbers during a marijuana deal. Former Gilroy Police Chief Roy Sumisaki’s grandson allegedly brandished a gun which went off during a struggle.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney charged David Hideo Sumisaki, 19, and Etienne Guerra-Orona, 18, with three counts each of first-degree robbery and burglary.
Sumisaki also is charged with the use of a handgun during the commission of a crime, according to Vishal Bathija, Supervising Deputy Santa Clara County District Attorney.
If convicted as charged, they face 23 years and four months in prison, he said.
They were arraigned and charged in late January in connection with the January 21 incident at about 3:34 p.m. in the 7200 block of Princevalle Street in Gilroy.
The victims were identified as Connor McConkie and Ashton Gaeta.
“Both suspects and the two victims were in Gaeta’s bedroom to conduct the transaction when Sumisaki withdrew a Beretta Model 96 .40 S&W semi-automatic pistol from his waistband, saying: ‘This is how it’s going to go,’” investigators reported.
Then, according to one report, “McConkie attacked Sumisaki, knocking him over the head with a beer bottle and disarmed him while Guerra-Orona and Gaeta fought. During the struggle, the firearm was discharged twice by McConkie and Guerra-Orona was struck in the torso.”
After the gunfire, “Sumisaki and Guerra-Orona ran from the residence taking McConkie’s wallet and Gaeta’s iPhone before fleeing in their vehicle,” according to police reports.
GPD’s Sgt. Jason Smith described the incident as “Essentially a robbery gone bad,” adding that it’s “Very serious any time it involves a gun.”
The defendants entered the victim’s house and bedroom ostensibly to buy drugs, but then pulled a gun and tried to rob the pair of marijuana and money, he said.
The shooter was not charged.
“Our investigators don’t believe there was any intent to hit the suspect, (the victim) fired more as a warning shot,” Smith said.
Sumisaki, who was 18 at the time of the incident, sustained injuries to his head in the struggle and required stitches, according to police.
Statements to police by the alleged thieves and the victims vary about who had the gun in the first place and who stole it.
But one report notes that in the hospital, Guerra-Orona “admitted he and (David) Sumisaki took his grandfather’s firearm without permission with the intent to commit the robbery during a marijuana deal.”
After the fight, Sumisaki and Guerra-Orona drove to a Rural Metro ambulance substation at 8532 Church St. where they sought medical attention.
They were later treated and released from St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and San Jose Regional Medical Center in San Jose before being arrested.
One investigator’s description of Guerra-Orona’s wound suggests he is lucky to be alive.
“The bullet had entered his body in his back, near his right shoulder blade, it traveled through his body in a right to left manner passing by his spine,” the report says. “It then contacted his left shoulder blade and fractured his left shoulder blade. The bullet shattered into two pieces, one passing through his body near the left shoulder blade, the second fracturing a rib and puncturing his left lung.”
McConkie also was treated at St. Louise, for head lacerations, police said.
Sumisaki is the grandson of former Gilroy Police Chief Roy Sumisaki and lives with him in the ex-chief’s Gilroy home.
At the time it was taken, the gun was not in a locked cabinet, according to police.
No charges were recommended by investigating Gilroy officers against the former chief, and Bathija said no additional charges are expected to be filed in the case.
Smith said that, based on the ex-chief’s statement to investigators, Gilroy’s former top cop did not violate gun safety laws, did not intend for his gun to be taken and had no knowledge it was stolen. Gun safe storage laws only apply in households where children live, Smith said.
According to police reports, “Roy admitted to police to owning a full-size Beretta handgun which he normally keeps locked in his safe. He stated he normally takes it with him (but) he forgot to take it and left (it) in a filing cabinet in his residence.”
The former chief said, “’Oh, Jesus Christ’ in frustration” when told his gun was used in the crime, according to one police report.
Sumisaki had been chief from 1990-1998. He was the first Asian American police chief in the U.S., according to a commendation in the Congressional Record given by representative Zoe Lofgren.
The pair was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the Santa Clara County Jail awaiting a June 22 case settlement conference at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 110 of the county Superior Court in Morgan Hill.

Leave your comments