News

Police vow gang takedown in wake of baby killing

East Palo Alto Chief Ronald Davis calls for massive law-enforcement effort to end Norteno and Sureno gang activity

Vowing to fully dismantle two gangs whose violent squabbling allegedly resulted in the June 5 fatal shooting of a 3-month-old infant, East Palo Alto police Chief Ronald Davis on Friday (June 17) announced a full attack against the Norteno and Sureno gangs.

Izack Jesus Jimenez Garcia was fatally shot in the head and his parents were shot and injured during what police called a case of mistaken identity by a 17-year-old gang member.

In a letter to the community, Davis said the department would use federal, state and county law-enforcement agencies to dissolve the gangs.

Fabian Zaragoza of East Palo Alto was arrested for the shooting, which police said was in retaliation for his beating by Sureno gang members in Redwood City on May 31. Another youth, 16, was arrested on weapons charges on the morning of the shooting during an intensive manhunt.

"If we are to protect our children and community from this type of violence and achieve true justice for the Garcia family, the accountability for the murder of baby Izack Garcia must extend beyond the two killers.Our response to this tragedy must result in nothing less than the full dismantling of the Norteno and Sureno gangs in East Palo Alto."

Izack's parents, Oscar Jimenez and Ivonne Garcia Lopez, had just bundled their two young children in their car at about 1 a.m. after leaving a family baby shower. Two teens approached and fired as many as 15 bullets into the vehicle; Izack died shortly after. His 4-year-old brother, Isaiah, was not injured but remains traumatized, police said.

"The loss of such innocence impacts of all of us and threatens that which matters most: our children. I believe we will turn this tragedy into an opportunity to not just reduce gang violence but change the environment that allows gangs to exist in our community," Davis said.

East Palo Alto police have worked hard in the last few years to break up gangs and reduce violence, including the dismantling of the city's notorious Taliban gang.

Operation Ceasefire "call-ins" have brought gang members in for serious talks with law enforcement and community leaders about giving up the gang life.

The program offers assistance and services to gang members who want to leave the gang lifestyle, and it promises a no-tolerance policy, arrest and incarceration if they continue illegal activities. In June and July, police will try to negotiate a truce between the Nortenos and Surenos, Davis said.

"The heinous nature of this shooting underscores the real and serious danger gangs pose to our community. ... Despite the arrest there exists a real threat of retaliatory violence because the two killers and their motive for the shooting involve a longstanding feud between two notorious street gangs," Davis said.

The police department plans a meeting with local, county, state and federal law-enforcement agencies to share intelligence and develop a coordinated plan to disrupt the gangs' activities, he said.

Agencies include at least nine law-enforcement groups and local police agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, San Mateo County's Gang Intelligence Unit and county gang and narcotics task forces.

East Palo Alto's Violence Interdiction Team will continue working with the San Mateo County Probation and state parole departments to conduct home visits, checks and searches of all Norteno and Sureno gang members on probation and parole, Davis said.

"I want to personally applaud the community and the men and women of the police department for their response to this tragedy. Within 24 hours of the shooting one of the two suspects responsible for this cowardly act was arrested and subsequently charged with murder. The department is working closely with the San Mateo County District Attorney's office to arrest and charge the second suspect," he said.

The East Palo Alto City Council will soon release $200,000 in grant funding for summer youth programs and $50,000 for One East Palo Alto's Sponsored Employment Program, Davis said.

The Police Activities League (PAL) will also provide at-risk youth programs, such as the Graffiti Arts Project. A citywide youth summit with the PAL and numerous faith-based and community groups will focus on gangs and violence.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Yay! SEP is awesome. I am glad that money is being released. Kudos to OEPA and all the other CBOs who're working so hard for EPA youth.

I hope the dismantling won't be bloody. The gangs need to be stopped. It's bad enough we have so many registered sex offenders. The gangs can be more effected by law enforcement.

Good luck, law enforcement!


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

It is about time that RICO be used to break up gangs. There is no room for criminal conspiracies anywhere. The first question in any criminal action should be, is anyone else involved? Then everyone involved in any criminal conspiracy should be brought to justice for the criminal acts of any member.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm




Any background on these gangs--their origin-history-how they make their money, how do they recruit--in the State Prisons/ Local Jails/ schools? etc ?

The Feds need to crush these gangs ASAP before we have a Mexican drug gang war next door with assassinations, corrupt officials and kidnappings.

Today there is a report that narco-terrorist gangs in Mexico are employing girls as young as 16 as assassins, one was a boy of 14 yrs.

We also need to take the profit motive out of the drug trade.

No profits = no gangs


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 1:00 am

Sharon says:
The Feds need to crush these gangs ASAP before we have a Mexican drug gang war next door with assassinations, corrupt officials and kidnappings.

Hmmm says:
That's already happening, Sharon, next door - in Mexico.


Like this comment
Posted by B
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

The only thing that will truly solve the problem is the Execution of anyone who pledges their allegiance to a Gang. These are violent people who choose to terrorize and intimidate the good citizens in our community. They are the enemies of civilized society. Its pretty sad that we have to pay taxes to help feed these losers in jail, while they fling excrement at guards and influence our youth to follow their pathetic lead. Brutal criminals require brutal punishment!


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

B, gangers are cowards unwilling to face the world without a committed mob behind them. The Germans have a word for them - Halbstarks, or half-strong. With the first growth of physical strength they become impressed with themselves and convinced that physical strength is the sole arbiter of right. Some never outgrow this childishness.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm

The Germans should know, having so many examples of the dangers of organized thuggery.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm



These EPA gangs are transforming into narco-terrorist gangs with links to the narco-terrorist gangs in Mexico and further south.

This is becoming a matter of national security--if they can smuggle drugs and people they can smuggle anything like WMDs--for money.

We are glad that the FBI is now determined to crush these violent gangs-- and it may also take the National Guard and US Special Forces-- who have experience neutralizing violent terrorist in Iraq, AfPak and Latin America--to annihilate these gangs -- enough is enough .

We should all be educated about the typical colors and tattoos worn by these thugs so that we call alert the Federal and State agents.

These gangs have a history of corrupting local law enforcement, prison guards etc

But they have never corrupted the FBI or US Special Forces.


Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

These particular gangs are controlled from inside the state pen north of Soledad. They are a major force in this state, and they are not going away, because they live off the demand for illegal drugs by hapless American youth. The only thing they understand is force. Islamists are rapidly recruiting among them, inside the prison. The guards control the external fence, but very little inside.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Youth aren't the only ones who want the drugs.

Once again, Sharon's not on target. She claims no corruption in the FBI or Special Forces? Yeah, like I'm gonna call Special Forces or a local Feebee when I see a gangster.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

"The only thing that will truly solve the problem is the Execution of anyone who pledges their allegiance to a Gang"

Yes, that and enforcement of immigration laws should fix the problem.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

From Outside Oberserver's comment, I'm not sure what is the least likely - fixing immigration issues or execution of those who pledge allegiance to their gang. Not gonna hold my breath on either happening any time soon. That said, many of the gang members are American-born.

It was a relief when some redevelopment pushed a lot of the gang members from the west side. I am not sure, from observation, how many current gang members reside on the west side, which is the most densely populated area of EPA.

My $$ is on this multi-jurisdictional partnership, vs. execution or immigration fix.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm


The war on drugs has failed and ex Sec State Schultz for making drugs legal-regulated like nicotine and alcohol-that will take a long time if it ever happens

We agree

If that happens then these gangs will move on to sex trafficking, kidnapping, extortion or terrorism for hire.

These thugs are not Muslims- they are money thugs who have long prison gang records--dead enders

The most practical solution in the short term is to send in US Special Forces Kill Teams to take the heads off the snakes.

Again -- this is now a National Security problem that requires a military solution.


Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

This a recurrent theme in EPA, which has been known as the murder capital of the nation. The cops circle up, and go to war for a while, then the gangs simply come back.

There is no particular answer for this, other than to take away the incentive (profits from drugs) and much shorter (but more severe) prison sentences. It goes without saying that Mexican underclasses have re-invaded this state...it was theirs, before it was the Anglos' land. Liberal lawmakers will refuse to deport them, although many Mexicans currently in this state, for a couple of generations, would probably approve of a tough stance. Bottom line: Nothing effective will occur, so just be prepared to defend your own homestead.


Like this comment
Posted by Local
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:38 am

Ken is not entirely correct with his first statement. EPA has not before been as aggressive in taking down gangs as it has been under Davis's regime. It remains to be seen how successful Davis's people and the other agencies will be.
The highest murder rate per capita was nearly 20 years ago, people - time to move on. What's more relevant are current data on gang-related crime, from misdemeanors to felonies, from property crimes to violent crimes.
Another point: this land belonged to the Ohlone/Costanoans for 1200 years and prior to that, to Hokan-speaking natives- for more than 5000 years- just to give a little perspective.
Since we had The Sperminator as governor for so many years, was he successful in sending Mexicans back? He's no liberal, but it sure seems to me, after many years living here, the situation hasn't improved.
Sure, Ken, be an armchair critic. Crime rates here are way down, even in the face of the financial debacle, the Taliban gang raid went well, and we truly feel safer in our home now than we did a decade ago. I'm not a huge fan of Davis, but he's strategic and certainly more innovative than his predecessors. His other advantages: he knows how to listen, to build rapport and he's accessible. These are important qualities in a small city.


Like this comment
Posted by TooBad
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

EPA will never change. Sorry to say....

Why weren't the two gangs fully dismantled before the infant had to lose his life?


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Of course EPA will change - it already has, in the time I've been here. It's much safer, overall. Most of the bad apples in the police are gone. They're now better educated. The CBOs are informed, work together, many of the youth programs are successful & their are a number of kids heading to college, other kids going to other training programs & jobs. Our city administration isn't corrupt & even w/the financial crisis, many aspects of this town are thriving.

One of the big problems here is the lack of assimilation, lack of education and poverty of most of the immigrants. Too many, too quickly, & undocumented is a huge drain. It's not that they don't contribute, it's that their contributions aren't the same, obviously, as the ones by lower income, documented folks & by those who are committed to the community. But to them, this is much better than what they came from. If they want their community to thrive, they have to invest in it, financially, culturally, emotionally, spiritually & w/the blood, sweat & tears that are hallmarks of those in it for the long haul, who do it for their children & other succeeding generations. I'm not sure yet how all of that will take shape.

Despite this unconscionable murder of the infant & the woundings of his parents, the overall gang issues have been much worse here in the past. This will take a consistent, strong effort from law enforcement, as well as the others parts of the community. We're in a solid position to do this.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm



The demographics of of EPA have changed dramatically since it was the murder capital of the USA--at that time --during the crack epidemic--70% + of the population was African American.

Now less than 15 % of the population of EPA is African American--and it is decreasing.

The current threat is the offshoots of Mexican narco-terrorist drug gangs who are recruited in the State Prison system.

In Chicago in areas where they have drug gang activity the police stop and search cars at random as well as with due cause--this has been approved by the SCOTUS.

Narco-terrorist Mexican gangs are the looming threat--they have killed 30,000+ people in the last 2 years alone.

1/Legalize drugs to take out the profit motive for gangs

or

2/Send in Special Forces Kill Teams to destroy the gangs

It looks like we are moving to option # 2

Not the best--but good enough for government work--it will solve the problem however


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Sharon, EPA is doing neither; they are going to arrest and prosecute gang members, not kill them. If you're talking about option 2 for beyond EPA, what evidence is there that we're doing this?


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

What is the point in arresting gang members who will recruit new gang members in prison.

The US Military uses Kill Teams to annihilate drug gangs in AfPak and South America, Mexico

We have a choice--

1/ legalize drugs and end the profit motive for the gangs

2/ Send in US Kill Teams to solve the problem

Send in the Kill Teams


Like this comment
Posted by debtor
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Since we are in trillion debt to foreign nation£¬why do not we sell it£¿


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 5:46 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The crux of the problem - "Posted by Ken, These particular gangs are controlled from inside the state pen north of Soledad."
Uncensored communication between prisoners and the outside must stop. The court sanctioned open communication and the recruiting by the Muslim Brotherhood must cease.
Such a restructuring would be facilitated by reclassification of all simple drug use and sales as civil health offenses rather than criminal.
Criminals are NOT citizens, they are wards of the state, and their care should be more on the Sheriff Arpaio mode than the Sheraton Palace. Our $55,000 a year bill for incarceration should be cut to $5,500 with food, shelter and medical care equal to that of our armed forces.


Like this comment
Posted by just thinkin'
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Sharon----------

An amazing number of the Hispanic gang/drug associated people are Catholic...... Are you sure you want kill teams to decrease the Catholic population based on guilt by association?????????????????


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

The reason it costs 55k a year for incarceration, and 203 million to execute someone sentenced to death is because we've let our "criminal justice system" morph into a criminal justice industry whose sole purpose is self perpetuation and expansion.

This criminal justice industry requires an unending supply of criminals, and they are exploiting illegal immigrants for that purpose in the same way greedy business men exploit them as slave labor, and Democrats exploit them for votes.


Like this comment
Posted by Someone whos seen the gangs
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

These are punk kids who wear red, act like gang members they see on tv, use cocaine and crime to fuel their endeavors. these individuals are scumbags, and if the police asked the right people and were allowed search warrants by the courts, I am sure they would be able to arrest the right people to trace their way back to some of the heavy hitters.


Like this comment
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

I'm all for police corruption and capital punishment. People who think it's okay to hurt other people don't deserve justice. So many of these criminals are purely living; they aren't going to contribute positively to society. We shouldn't have to pay for their lives.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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