Neighborhoods along Chestnut Street in east Gilroy have been the scene of frequent police calls since long before Steven Juarez died there in police custody Feb. 25. It is also the street where Juarez survived a shooting in 2013, according to family members.
From Feb. 1, 2017 to Feb. 25, 2018, Gilroy police have responded to the 7400 block of Chestnut Street a total of 31 times, according to data provided by Gilroy Police Sgt. Jason Smith. Nine of these calls were for an unspecified “disturbance.” Three of the calls were “animal related” and two were on reports of stolen vehicles.
Other calls listed by Gilroy police to the block include two reports of “suspicious person/vehicle,” one call for assault and one hit and run. The list of calls does not say if anybody was arrested or detail the extent of any injuries or losses in each call.
The 7400 block of Chestnut Street is where Gilroy police contacted Juarez about 10pm Feb. 25, when officers responded to a 911 call reporting a suspicious person in her backyard, according to police.
When police arrived, Juarez fled on foot, and officers said they followed him as he jumped over fences and onto rooftops.
Police think Juarez might have fallen from a roof when they saw him lying on the ground near a residence. At that point, police said they attempted to arrest him, but Juarez struggled with officers.
Police used a number of forceful efforts to subdue him, including a Taser and a carotid hold, said Smith.
During the arrest, Juarez suffered medical distress. Police and paramedics attempted to treat him, but he was transported to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Juarez, who was 42 when he died, was no stranger to the Chestnut Street neighborhood. His cousin, Rebeca Armendariz, also of Gilroy, said he was friendly with many residents in the area where he died Feb. 25. He was often welcomed into their homes.
In 2013, Juarez survived a gang-related shooting outside a home on the 7300 block of Chestnut Street. His cousin, Jesse Silos, who was 30 at the time, died as a result of the shooting.
Police think Silos and Juarez were targeted by at least three suspects, one of whom pulled the trigger.
Armendariz said Juarez was shot in the neck during the double shooting, which took place April 3, 2013. She added that the shooting took place at Juarez’ home at the time. Silos, who had previously moved out of town to avoid gang-related trouble, was visiting Juarez and his uncle as he was passing through Gilroy.
Two suspects were eventually convicted of murder and attempted murder in relation to the 2013 shooting, according to Armendariz. A third suspect has not been located.
The 7300 and 7400 blocks of Chestnut Street are also among Gilroy’s poorest neighborhoods. According to data from the U.S. Census and other sources, compiled on the website datausa.io, the median household income of the Census tract that contains Chestnut Street was about $39,000 in 2015. The median household income for Gilroy as a whole was about $83,000 in 2015.