Juarez, beloved by family, had rap sheet

Steven Juarez, on the far right, pictured with his sister, Monica Juarez (far left), and mother, Martha Silos.

Steven Abraham Juarez, a longtime Gilroy resident with deep ties to the area who died after a struggle with police on Feb. 25, will be remembered as a loyal friend and family member with a good sense of humor and fun-loving demeanor.

Gilroy Police and other law enforcement authorities knew Juarez, who was 42 at the time of his death Sunday night, from numerous arrests and criminal court proceedings over the years.

Juarez’ cousin, Rebeca Armendariz, also a Gilroy resident, admitted in a phone interview with the Dispatch that Steven Juarez was “no angel.” “But he wasn’t some kind of hardened violent criminal,” Armendariz said.

“He was a big-hearted, easy-going person,” said Armendariz, adding that she just saw him last weekend at a family barbecue. “It’s really hard for his mom, and his brothers and sisters.”

Juarez left behind five sons age 6 to 22, according to a gofundme page set up to raise funds for his funeral expenses. Armendariz said these children include young twin boys.

“Steven was a son, brother, father, uncle and friend to many,” reads the page, which can be found online at gofundme.com/steven-juarezs-funeral-fund.

At the time of his death, Juarez did not have a permanent residence and had been staying at different friends’ and family members’ homes in Gilroy, according to Armendariz.

Juarez was welcomed with open arms into many homes in the Chestnut Avenue neighborhood where police say a resident reported him as a suspicious person before officers arrived, chased him and then struggled with him in an effort to arrest him. That struggle ended in Juarez’ death.

Armendariz said others in the neighborhood often let him sleep on their couches and play with their kids. “Steven wasn’t an unknown person that we would have called the cops on,” she said.

By Feb. 26, residents and family members created a memorial to Juarez outside a home on the 7400 block of Chestnut Street, where the struggle with Gilroy Police occurred. Flowers and a cross with Juarez’ name were placed at the memorial.

Another cousin of Juarez’, Marina Martinez, of Morgan Hill, placed a cross at the site Tuesday. She said when she lived in Gilroy with her father, Juarez made it a routine to loyally stop by just to “hang out with my dad. He always checked up on my dad,” Martinez said.

“He’s a really good guy. A really happy guy,” she continued. “We’ll miss him. He always makes you laugh. He was a free spirit.”

Gloria Olmos, a friend who has known Juarez since they attended school together at South Valley Middle School in Gilroy, wept as she placed flowers at the memorial Feb. 27. Olmos, like others who knew Juarez, was upset about the way he died.

“They treated him like he was nothing,” she said.

She added, “He was loved.”

Gilroy Police Capt. Joseph Deras earlier this week continued to decline to identify the man who died after a struggle with his officers. But he said the department is “quite familiar with a Steven Juarez.” Gilroy Police Department sent out a press release just after 6pm Wednesday that identified Juarez as the man who died in the incident. 

While Deras said he couldn’t discuss the details of Gilroy Police’s history with Juarez, a review of court records and newspaper archives reveals he was arrested numerous times over the years.

A search of court records at the Morgan Hill Courthouse brought up 20 cases from 1997 to 2017 in which Juarez faced criminal charges. These include misdemeanors and felonies. He has faced charges related to drug possession, trespassing, driving under the influence and other vehicle code violations.

One of his case files, from 2001, reveals police suspected him of affiliating with the Norteno street gang. In that case, he was accused of attempted murder in a gang-related stabbing in January 2001. Juarez was ultimately not convicted of a crime in that case, after spending months in jail. At the conclusion of his preliminary hearing in early 2002, the judge determined the authorities did not have enough evidence to take him to trial, and he was released from custody, according to the court file.

The stabbing victim in that case, Carlos Gonzalez, told police he was not a gang member, but Juarez and three other suspects in the stabbing thought he was affiliated with the rival Sureno gang, according to the court file.

Juarez and the other three suspects allegedly followed him to a home on Eigleberry Street in downtown Gilroy, according to the court file. The suspects and victim began a shoving match, which escalated to more violence and a knife attack on Gonzalez.

The court file does not indicate that Juarez was the one who wielded the knife.

Eight of the cases on file for Juarez have been “purged” from the court records system. These cases occurred 2002 to 2012.

A search of the Gilroy Dispatch website brings up numerous instances of his name appearing in the “police blotter” over the years. These include arrests on suspicion of controlled substances and a probation violation.  


  1. This family is mourning the loss of a love one and this article is bashing and bringing up his pass! Not everyone is perfect in this world!!

    • What do you people think that because you brought up his rap sheet that it’s okay that the police killed him you guys are f****** wrong if he was white would have been a different story what about the Gilroy Police Department when they were having all these sex parties and what not being dirty f****** pigs

    • Sounds like he deserved it.. the kind of person that gives gilroy a bad name.. jobless trouble making [expletive] 🙂

  2. This is messed up. What was done to him is Completely Unacceptable. Criminal past or not no one deserves what they did to him. This article comes across as if he deserved it. This is wrong.

  3. Painting a picture of a person so negatively to take the focus off the real issue of POLICE BRUTAILITY is so disgusting! He may have had some legal issues in the past but does that mean everyone with a criminal past deserves this type of horrible death ? I’ve read the story on several new sites and all I interpret is a cover-up! “He must of fell off a roof, that’s why he had blood on his face”. No the blood came from cops beating a helpless man that was screaming for help and for them to stop!

  4. Thats [expletive] doesnt give nobody any rites to kill someone are take a innocent persons life no matter wat his past WasY u bringing his past up he was a good guy and he didnt deserve to die that way. Are no way. We all make mistake we all do stuff we are not bad people. Its [expletive] to bring his past up thats than this is now

  5. Another sad story of a misguided punk who could have done so much good in his life. Don’t commit illegal acts, man up if caught, don’t join cowardly street gangs, don’t run from the police. Screw all the Norteno gangsters in Gilroy who commit crime, ruin lives, do nothing good for their community. Hopefully Gilroy PD will keep a handle on the gangs so we don’t turn into San Jose.

    • anonymous more like oxymoron.
      how do you make a comment like man upthen sign off as anonymous? coward.
      Did you know Steven Juarez? You really shouldn’t be saying anything unless you personally met him. to do so only shows ignorance

      • Before using big words..haha like oxymoron you should probably understand what they mean. It just makes you look like a “moron” on “Oxy”.

  6. Lesson for all. Don’t run from police and don’t fight with them when you are caught. Sad, sad day but this was NOT caused by police. If he was home caring for his family, he’d still be alive.

  7. Loser….homeless….gang member…criminasl…not responsible for taking care of 5 children….Loser and GOOD RIDDANCE…OH I KNOW…he was a good boy with a good heart and he only meant to help others…I don’t care what race he was….Good riddance!!!!

    • Did you know stevie or was he so one who didnt want your ass any more so you have to talk crap about him keed his name out your mouth your the loser. So what if he a past that dose not give them the right to kill him .

    • GPD has a share of losers too. lets not forget the GPD sex scandal. Now this, they just took a unarmed mans life. It would be nice if this article listed GPD’s long list of misconduct allegations. GPD is just as violent as any gang out there.

  8. All gangsters usually end up dead or incarcerated instead of taking care of their families. 40 % of the jails in this area are Norteno wanna be gangsters. Less than 10% hold any serious status in the gang. Lesson for all youth: Be your own person, do good things, help others, study hard in school, obey your parents and elders, don’t be a coward and join a gang, join the military instead if you need to feel part of something bad a$$, don’t run from or fight the police, don’t blame others for your troubles, volunteer.

  9. no one is perfect the police department’s hiding they’re dirt under the carpet about the Explorer Program where did involved officers sexually involved with other workers among the Explorer Club will they sweep it under the carpet so that’s to tell you that the police department’s not even perfect let’s bring out the pass are they doing anything about this what the officer from San Jose that had multiple sex with young teenagers 14 and up from Gilroy California are they going to do something about that so that too tell you that the police departments not even perfect don’t make the community look bad unless you clean up your Police Department

  10. Only god can judge you keep your comments to yourself the Lord is watching and hearing he was a human being just like you and everyone else

  11. Looks like poor Steve had many uneducated friends, based on the posts I am trying to decipher. Shocking wonderful Steve didnt have a couch of his own to crash on or a backyard of his own to prowl around in.

    Someone remind me to light a candle for this turd….after I take a dump of course.

    Keep taking out the trash GPD, the law abiding, tax paying citizens here fully support you!

  12. Cops should carry 3 kind of guns 1 electric for stunning people to get there attention 2 gun with rubber bullets when people misbehaving 3 real bullets absutluty only to use it to save his life other than that police not to use deadfully force no body should die on any police force police watch police should be protecting lifes not killing our brothers and sisters . to be a police officer does not give the right to say who lives who dies they became officer to do good not evil … like he/police think other people are doing just bad …it not true every body has issues police should be giving help to the people they come in contact with that’s being a good cop hero…

  13. If someone has a criminal backgeound or not does not give police officers the right to take advantage and beat someone to death. I have known him since i was a little girl and he did nothing but show love and respect everywhere he went regardless. I KNOW that GPD is doing everything they can to cover up thier brutality because less then a year ago I know a young man about 23-25 years old got “mistakenly identified” for someone else with no resemblance to him. When GPD made contact they beat him very vwry bad. He had lumps and knots all over head and half of his face was severely scrapped. His options was to be admitted into the local hospital for injuries and get a citation or go to jail!?!?!…. Where does that seem right? I think their should be a thorough investigation about GPD and their patroling officers. Anyone with any suggestions please reply…… We dont need anyone else losing their life over dirty cops!

  14. My Condolences to his family life will never be the same for his boys. My heart breaks to see this happening to this family. I will keep his family in prayer so that they can overcome there pain thru getting justice and making those cops involved that day receive what they deserve. A prision sentence for murder .

  15. How do previous drug and vehicle violations make it okay that this unarmed man was murdered? Looking at this man’s court history, it appears as though he grew up poor and both self-medicated and occasionally hung around people who might not have been a good crowd. Well, what person coming up in poverty doesn’t know someone who turned to a gang for help in their youth? I never met this man, but my thoughts are with his grieving family and with the officers who beat him to death in the street and are still on active duty. I have grave concerns for where our neighborhoods are going if being outside is enough to make an officer chase me down, call backup to help beat me up, taser me, and then choke me to death. If this is how some of Gilroy PD’s officers behave, no wonder this man tried to run away. He had good reason to fear for his life.

  16. Instead of blaming the police take a look at the real reason all this happened. Why was Steven in someone’s backyard? Who gave or sold him the meth that he mostly likely was under the influence of and most likely caused his unusual behavior, caused him to run from the police, jump fences, climb upon roof tops and violently fight and threaten the police. Look up the term “excited delirium” which, most likely, along with the high level of Meth he had in his body, caused his death. Wait for the results of the toxicology results before you jump to conclusions. And again, if anyone really cares about Steven, find the person who gave him the Meth – that is the person everyone should be angry at. But Steven chose to ingest the Meth and he is equally to blame for his demise.

Leave your comments