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June 12, 2021

Details are scarce in wave of shootings

Second victim dies from New Year’s weekend incidents

The 21-year-old man who was shot in his car on Jan. 2 died on Jan. 12, Gilroy Police reported.

The victim was identified as Robert Marks of Gilroy.

The death is now one of two homicides that occurred in Gilroy the first week of 2021. On Jan. 3, a 35-year-old man was killed after he was shot at about 9:30pm on the 400 block of Fairview Drive. The victim was transported to a local trauma center, where he was pronounced dead.

The Santa Clara County Coroner’s office identified the Jan. 3 victim as Russell Anthony Lewis of Paicines.

Marks was shot just before 9pm Jan. 2 while he was driving a vehicle near the intersection of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Mantelli Drive, according to police. Gilroy Police, Fire and medics responded and transported Marks to the hospital, where he died on Jan. 12.

More violence in Gilroy occurred on Jan. 10, when police responded to a shooting in which two men were injured, police said. That incident occurred about 11:50pm in the area of Eighth and Hanna streets, and nearby officers heard shots fired before rushing to the scene.

When the officers arrived, they found evidence of a shooting but no suspects or victims. Later, a nearby hospital called police to report two gunshot victims had arrived at the emergency room.

No suspects have been identified or arrested in relation to any of the recent shootings.

Gilroy Police have not released many details about the shootings. Police Chief Pedro Espinoza, in a Jan. 16 video posted on the police department’s Facebook page, acknowledged that residents might be frustrated with the lack of details about the recent shootings. However, detectives have limited the release of information in order to avoid compromising the investigation, Espinoza explained.

“I want to assure you of our commitment to thoroughly investigate these senseless acts,” Espinoza said. “We are utilizing every investigative tool and technique at our disposal, and also relying on established partnerships we have in our allied agencies to make sure we apprehend those responsible.”

A GoFundMe page set up for Marks shortly after the Jan. 2 shooting, when he was still alive in the hospital. The page raised $23,577 as of Jan. 19.

“If you know Robert he is a kind soul who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need,” reads the fundraising page.

South County and surrounding communities have seen a wave of violence since 2021 began. On Jan. 5 in Morgan Hill, police reported a shooting at Galvan Park, 17666 Crest Ave., in which a man was wounded. Police have not arrested a suspect in relation to that incident.

In Watsonville, Octavio Varela, 30, and Francisco Mora, 19, were shot and killed in separate incidents on Jan. 7 and 9, respectively. Authorities said there are no indications that those shootings were related.

Espinoza said of the Gilroy shootings in the Jan. 16 Facebook video, “Since the beginning of the year we’ve experienced an uptick in violent crime that resulted in four shootings. A total of four people suffered gunshot wounds; unfortunately, two of them passed away. On behalf of our team, I want to share our deepest sympathy to those families that lost their loved ones.”

Anyone with information about the Gilroy shootings can contact Gilroy Police Detective Jason Greathead at 408.846.0373. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Tip Line at 408.846.0330.

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