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Gilroy
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January 26, 2022

Family, friends mourn loss of Gilroy teen

Three other victims injured; one suspect arrested

Family and friends are mourning the loss of 18-year-old Michael Daniel Zuniga-Macias, who was one of four people shot at a Halloween party in east Gilroy Oct. 30.

“Michael was a young adult with a good loving heart and soul,” says a fundraising web page organized by Daniel Zuniga. “With a life that was so ahead of him but the lord called him too soon. He did not deserve to leave in this way and we are asking for donations in the amount that God puts in your heart.”

Zuniga-Macias was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, which occurred at a large outdoor party on the 400 block of Las Animas Avenue, according to police. The party occurred at the home of Gilroy City Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz.

Gilroy Police said just before 1am Oct. 30, an altercation occurred at the Halloween party. The fight escalated to gunfire, with at least two people suspected of firing gunshots.

Of the three surviving victims, two were still in the hospital as of Nov. 1, according to police. The third was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.

All of the injured are between 17 and 19 years old, according to authorities.

Around 4:15pm Oct. 30, members of the Gilroy/Morgan Hill Regional SWAT team arrested Benjamin David Calderon, 19, on suspicion of homicide in relation to the shooting. He was detained after police served a search warrant at a residence on the 7100 block of Church Street, according to police.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has not yet filed charges against Calderon, as of Nov. 2.

Police have not publicly identified any other suspects. During a search of the crime scene and surrounding property, investigators from Gilroy PD and the county crime lab found two firearms and other evidence. It is unknown if either of the firearms were used in the crime, police said.

Armendariz has not returned phone calls to the Dispatch. She told ABC7 News that Calderon is her second cousin, and that she was home at the time of the fatal shooting.

Gilroy Police and the Santa Clara County Coroner revealed that Zuniga-Macias was the deceased victim on Nov. 1.

A post to the Gilroy Dispatch’s Facebook page showed an invitation to a party at the address for the Armendariz home hosted by “Ben.” A call to the phone number on the invitation went to a voicemail for a “Benjamin Calderon,” but it is unclear if the arrested suspect was the host of the party.

A memorial was set up Nov. 1 outside Gilroy City Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz’ home, where a fatal shooting with multiple victims occurred on Oct. 30.

Armendariz’ Las Animas Avenue home was quiet Monday morning, with a makeshift memorial with candles and flowers set up in front of the house near the roadway. Nobody answered when a reporter knocked on the front door. 

Armendariz, who was elected to the Gilroy City Council in 2020, was not present at the council’s scheduled Nov. 1 meeting.

Fellow Councilmember Zach Hilton said in an Oct. 31 statement, “I am devastated that we have more victims of gun violence in Gilroy, and that this tragedy took place at my colleague’s home during a Halloween party. I have spoken with Councilmember Armendariz and she is heartbroken right now. My office is standing by in support of her, the victims and their families, and the community of Gilroy as we learn more details of the event.”

Gilroy Police continue to investigate the incident.

Anyone with any information can call Gilroy Police Detective Chris Silva at 408.846.0335. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call the Gilroy Police Department Tip Line at 408.846.0330.

Dan Pulcrano contributed to this story. 

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