On Wednesday November 24 at approximately 4:30 pm on the 7500 block of Alexander Street, Jason Contreras, 32, was gunned down on the sidewalk; the apparent result of an argument that made Contreras the city’s first homicide victim of the year.
Police have identified Jay Robert Vasquez, 20, as a suspect in the murder and have issued a Ramey warrant for his arrest. Vasquez is considered armed and dangerous.
A Ramey warrant is used by law enforcement to arrest a suspect without charges being filed. Police often use Ramey warrants to get information from a suspect while they are in police custody. Officers can bypass the prosecutor’s office and get a Ramey warrant from a judge based on their current evidence.
Vasquez faces three charges at this time: murder, crime committed for the benefit of a street gang and of being an active gang member.
A nearby neighbor heard what he thought was were loud banging noises on his door, expecting a roofer to come by that day. Shortly after the blasts outside, his wife correctly identified the bangs as gunshots.
“He was laying on his side and his friend was yelling to him, ‘Wake up Jason!,’” a witness who lives nearby said.
According to witnesses, Contreras was in a parked car with three to four people shortly before the shooting. Contreras reportedly exited the vehicle when a confrontation with the unidentified person occurred.
There were two shots, one to the chest and another to the abdomen, according to the witness, paramedics rushed to save Contreras’s life, but the Gilroyan was seen dead half an hour after the shooting.
“His friend was yelling at a woman in the car, telling her to call an ambulance,” he said. “He pulled off the guy’s shirt and was using it to stop up the wounds. I went out to see if I could help, but I didn’t want to get in the way. It looked like he was already dead.”
The 7500 block of Alexander Street between Martin and Lewis Streets has changed a lot over the years a longtime resident described; a neighborhood that went from being quiet and full of homeowners to one of drug traffic, gunshots and police raids.
As of Monday, a monument has grown on the sidewalk of the murder. A whiteboard full of messages of love along with 49ers gear, votive candles, crosses and cans of Modelo with a nearly empty bottle of Hennessy, remain. Family and friends continue to mourn there.
“He was a great guy, like a brother; almost like a father to me,” said a family member who asked not to be identified. “He was very loved.”
In 2013 Contreras was charged with two felonies for car theft and possession of methamphetamine as well as two misdemeanors, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license. Contreras pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 270 days in County Jail and ordered to pay $1,323 in fines.