Shots fired as school ends

Gilroy Police Detective John Marfia, right, K-9 Officer Nester

GILROY
– Police are still looking for the players involved in a street
confrontation Tuesday afternoon resulting in three gunshots and
rattling Gilroy’s Monte Bello neighborhood just as it began to
swell with school children walking home.
GILROY – Police are still looking for the players involved in a street confrontation Tuesday afternoon resulting in three gunshots and rattling Gilroy’s Monte Bello neighborhood just as it began to swell with school children walking home.

“It sounds like an altercation led to the shots,” Gilroy Police Department Detective Jack Robinson said. “Right now we might know who the victim was, but we are still trying to find the shooters – we are working through the pieces.”

Gilroy’s 911 dispatchers received a flurry of calls around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday reporting “shots fired” in front of 1129 Monte Bello Drive, near the intersection of Santa Barbara Drive.

Police immediately responded to the scene and created a barrier around Monte Bello Drive between Santa Barbara Drive and Wren Avenue, denying many residents of the several apartment complexes on the block access to their homes for more than an hour.

“I was in my kitchen, and then I heard four loud shots,” said Esther Haas, who lives in the Plum Tree Apartments at 1055 Monte Bello Drive. “I looked out the window and thought maybe it was some kids walking home from school lighting fireworks – but it was way too loud for fireworks. The shots were close. I called my neighbors and they said to lock my door.”

The ensuing police search of the area and interviews with neighbors resulted in little evidence, although police did stop a car near El Roble School on Third Street and Wren Avenue and arrested a male passenger who was later released.

“We think he was in the area, but we can’t confirm it,” GPD Capt. Debbie Moore said. “The (blue station wagon) fit a witness description, and we thought he might be the victim – the guy who was being shot at.”

Police were unable to recover any bullet casings, find any bullet damage or blood, and follow-up calls to local hospitals to monitor any gunshot-wound patients turned up empty, Moore said.

Six police officers, two detectives and one K-9 unit combed the area for almost two hours.

“Several witnesses definitely saw somebody firing a weapon,” Moore said. “We’re lucky we didn’t find anyone lying in the road.”

Witnesses described the two suspects who might have fired the handgun both as Latino males in their late 20s. One had a round face and was wearing a black baseball cap and a royal blue parka. The other had a muscular build, a shaved head and was wearing a white tank top, according to police.

They were last seen leaving the scene in a royal blue Ford Ranger truck.

The victim was described as a Latino male in his late 20s wearing a white shirt and white shoes, police said. It is not known how he fled the area.

“We have no physical evidence of the shooting and no victims coming forward, so it’s hard to find a motive,” Robinson said. “Right now it doesn’t look gang-related, but like I said we don’t have all of the pieces.”

More than 50 residents of Monte Bello Drive – mostly school children and parents – remained at the corner of Monte Bello Drive and Wren Avenue for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon as police searched the crime scene.

While some of the kids talked about using the shooting and the subsequent blockade as an excuse not to do homework, parents expressed their concern with bullets breezing by the sidewalks where their kids walk every day.

Jennifer Allen, who lives in the Monte Bello Apartments at 1129 Monte Bello Drive, was walking home from picking up her 5-year-old daughter, Ashton, at day care when a police officer told her she could not walk to her apartment.

“My 9-year-old son is home alone,” she said. “I’m sure he’s wondering where I am, I was only supposed to be gone for a few minutes. … Right now I’m just really surprised this happened here – look at all the kids around.”

Police are asking anyone with information regarding Tuesday’s shooting to call GPD Detective Daniel Zen at 846-0300.

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