News

East Palo Alto tries to stanch violence

Suspects named in at least two shooting deaths

East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis looked determined as his department faced investigating the city's sixth homicide this year. "We are not going to tolerate this level of violence," he told reporters at a press briefing on Monday (July 25). "We need the community to show they won't, either."

The chief also named three suspects in recent shootings, including the shooting death of Cate Fisher, 19, of Menlo Park.

Last year, he said, East Palo Alto had four homicides. This year surpassed that in a matter of days, with four homicides since July 13 alone. Davis said his goal now is to go without a homicide for the next six months.

Police officers will sacrifice their days off and work overtime to help achieve that milestone. The chief said extended hours will increase police coverage by 25 percent, with 12 officers on the street during "the busy hours" of 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. for at least the next month. The department plans to tap grants to cover the overtime.

After that, it's up to the community. Outrage at the shooting of 3-month-old Izack Jesus Jimenez Garcia, killed as his family left a baby shower in East Palo Alto on June 5, led to the quick arrest of 17-year-old Fabian Zaragoza, who pleaded not guilty to murder charges in a shooting investigators believe was a retaliation gone wrong for an assault earlier this year by Sureno gang members in Redwood City.

Mayor Carlos Romero told the press he hopes that the arrest encourages residents to see cooperation as worthwhile. He's organizing a community march from east Menlo Park to Palo Alto on Aug. 6 "to say we're not going to allow this to happen."

Catherine Fisher, 19, of Menlo Park was shot and killed while sitting in a car around 2 a.m. in East Palo Alto on July 13. At the press briefing Davis said she was not the intended target, but that a young man riding in the same car may have been. He described three men as primary suspects in both that homicide and that of Hugo Chavez, 26, six days later.

Three East Palo Alto residents -- Christian Fuentes, 20, Jaime Cardenas, 19, and Fidel Silva, 24 -- are the focus of the investigation.

Fuentes was arrested last week for violating parole by not showing up for an interview with investigators, who were acting on a tip, according to Acting Captain Jeff Liu. Both Cardenas and Silva remain at-large; all three are also wanted in connection with two robberies, a burglary, and a triple shooting and murder in Grand Junction, Colorado, police said.

"Our plea is that if people know where they are, call," Chief Davis said. "We have seen the damage that they can inflict."

Liu said police have not ruled out a connection between these three suspects and a third homicide that happened late Sunday night, July 24. A 19-year-old man was gunned down around 10:30 p.m. in a pizzeria parking lot on East Bayshore Road as he greeted friends. Another man, 18, was also shot, but survived.

Police ask anyone with information about these cases to call the anonymous tip line at 650-853-8477 or send an anonymous text-a-tip to 650-409-7692.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Why-No-Pictures?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Interesting that there are no pictures of those sought by the E. Palo Alto Police, or a web-address where detail about these three might be found.

It will be interesting to follow these cases to see how long it takes to locate and arrest them, and if the Police will be willing to share with the public how much "civic engagement" was involved in finding/arresting these young men.

The Internet can easily allow people to become familiar with the images of those being sought by the police. Yet, here were are in mid-2011, and the local police don't seem to have much of a clue as to how to use this information sharing/transmission tool.


Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm

The only way Ron has a chance to keep it kill free,He needs funding. You heard him after they tap into the grants its up to the community.That will never work,never has.Im not being negative Im being honest.Baby Isac alledge killer is out on the loose.Why?Because police dont have what they realy need and thats proof.24 hour patrol is what you need,3mile long and three miles wide and you cant control your city.YOU BETTER DO SOMTHING.The system waiting for this crooked game they design that some have chossen to play to get rid of the obvious,but reality is we are a product of what we are exposed to.


Like this comment
Posted by Pictures
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm

The assumptions about why no pics posted of the 2 sought in this bad news crime spree - see the press briefing last night about the pics not being distributed. It's a conscious decision, not because the cops don't know how - what an silly assumption that they don't know how.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm


The only thing that will solve these cases and prevent further violence in EPA is when EPA residents tell the police what they know about EPA gangs and drugs

--it is their responsibility and their culture and town--their destiny


Like this comment
Posted by Watcher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Sharon, clearly, that's happening and needs to continue happening. Love that you're such an expert on a town you know so little about.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm


The EPAPD have said for years that the " no-snitch" dysfunctional culture in EPA makes their job in solving gang and drug crimes impossible.

At some point very soon the State will move in units of the CA National Guard

--war hardened veterans who have served in Iraq and AfPak.

These units will have military ordinance, military vehicles and military rules of engagement.

They will not be intimidated by EPA gangs nor EPA drug dealers and punks


Like this comment
Posted by Why-No-Pictures?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm

> see the press briefing last night about the pics not
> being distributed.

There doesn't seem to be anything about a "press briefing" on the EPA Police web-site. Any links?

It's still a bad idea not to release the photos if they expect people in "the community" to help.


Like this comment
Posted by G TOWN
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Sharon you scared and hope it all will go away.You should probably move far far away.Violence in low income communities will never end.Can you recall when East Palo Alto brought in the guardian angles?This was because a ladies house was rittled with bullets for calling the police on folks who she thought were selling drugs.What happend? Eventually they left and so will what ever agency they bring in now.There will always be a cultre of violence in East Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Watcher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

What happened after Mrs. Roddy was shot was that the cops never caught the shooter, but we all knew who he was. His mom eventually moved and I think he moved with her, to either Sac or the central valley. G Town, do you remember any other details?

Sharon looooves the Nat'l Guard and apparently, she has an inside line to them because she swears they're always coming to town to clean up. But her info's no good, because they're no where in sight.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Antone who doubts that the mean green machine is on its way to patrol EPA should look out their window in August.

There is a National Guard base right across 101 and they are ready to roll and put an end to this drug gang narco terrorism -real fast--it will not be pretty


2 people like this
Posted by no one
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 26, 2011 at 3:34 am

R.i.p. Kevin I knew him no matter what he didn deserve to die..... Fidel needs to get fought for to murders we g justice god is love


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

National Guard in EPA? yeah right they will just have a few hp's and a few cops from neighboring cities join in with the patrols. And for people talking bout help the cops. The cops built this paranoid state of mind for epa residents. The cop were and prolly still on the thugs payroll I personally cant/dont trust the cops because all they ever did for me was harass and beat me down and im the good, work everyday, low key type and now they want my help.........yea right. The thugs never did anything like that to me. I was taught at a early age if it doesnt concern you dont get involved. That motto has allowed me to live 3 decades in EPA. Ill protect me and mines but I cant save everyone. Honestly Im more scared of the cops than the thugs.


Like this comment
Posted by local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

Mr. Ironic, you are part of the problem, not the solution. So you survived in your town for 30 years . . . what about your kids? What kind of a future will they have if you don't cooperate?


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

@ local gurl

Walk one day in my shoes than speak on my situation. To answer your questions I am part of the solution. I've worked for various non-profits in EPA and served on youth and normal EPA city councils trying to provide more alternatives for youths so that they can avoid the thug life. Hell my family helped incorporate EPA decades ago. What have you done to help EPA? And my kids are ok and I will teach them the same motto that was taught to me. Id be willing to bet money that my kids will get beat down and harassed by the cops more than they will from any EPA thug and thats the sad part. Sorry, why help the cop (that just punched you in the face) bust a thug that has never done anything to me or my loved ones.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2011 at 11:50 am

There is plenty of room here in EPA for all sorts of help & all sorts of solutions - what's important is that people stay safe & keep their families safe. It can be a delicate balance, depending on what one's circumstances are. I respect Mr. Ironic's pov, including the problems w/the cops, even if I haven't had the same problems - I know enough about how the world works to know that cops wear as many faces as others & often mistreat those they think won't get them into trouble. It's a complicated place here w/complicated issues.


Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

@ Why-No-Pictures

Read this and you'll see why no pictures are available.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Mr. Ironic -- I appreciate your position and what a tough balance it must be. I have worked extensively with EPA nonprofits myself and have seen what devastation this violence and the threats of violence have on families. I hope that the local police can someday soon create trust in the community and an environment where you aren't afraid to cooperate (or even have an encounter) with them. I haven't had to deal with that in my life, and I realize that there are more faces to the police than the ones I have seen.


Like this comment
Posted by Why-No-Pictures?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2011 at 7:55 am

> Read this and you'll see why no pictures are available.

Thanks for the link. It's interesting that the EPA Police chose FB, rather than its own web-site to make this announcement. However, the request does not really answer the question: "why no pictures"?

People who don't know the individuals involved are not likely to remember these young men's names, but they might remember their faces. So, getting help from people who are not familiar with these suspects is not very likely. Whereas, if pictures of these men were available, people might be in a better place to help.

For instance .. if the EPA police were to put these pictures on-line, and then email all of the local businesses in EPA, the Samtrans, and other police agencies (at least), there would be an increased awareness of the local "infrastructure"/service providers to "be on the look out" for these guys. No doubt the local in San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County have been alerted, but how about all of the police all the way to the Mexican Border, and even the Mexican police?

Perhaps the police in EPA have their reasons, but the if they really expect the public to help at times like these, they need to be seen as competent, and using all of the resources at their disposal. Not publishing pictures of two men that no one (in general) has ever heard of, and then asking for "help" doesn't make a lot of sense.

Let's watch and see how long it takes them to actually publish the pictures of these two suspects. (Of course, this assumes that someone known to the police actually has pictures of these suspects--like the DMV, or a family member.)




Like this comment
Posted by Why-No-Pictures?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

Comments about the EPA Police (and other law enforcement agencies in the area) not understanding how to use the Internet are based on their failure to use all of the tools at their disposal. The following provides an entry point into this new "world":

---
Facial Recognition Software Used By Law Enforcement:
Web Link

What is Facial Recognition Technology?

Facial recognition technology makes use of unalterable features of a face, such as the distance between the centers of the pupils of the eye. It then uses an algorithm, a finite set of steps for solving a problem, which converts the image to numbers. The software program is then able to compare the digital photograph of a face with others in the database and bring up matches in gallery format, with the most likely match first. The officer or deputy then decides which of the matching images, if any, are of the person in question.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) uses software developed by Viisage of Billerica, MA. The company developed the software specific to the needs of the sheriff’s office, using their data and incorporating the fields they needed such as name, address, and prior arrests. This software, when used in conjunction with digital cameras and laptop computers, has allowed the sheriff’s office to identify wanted persons as well as to prove that individuals are telling the truth about their identities. In 2004, Viisage acquired ZN Vision Technologies, a European leader in facial recognition technology, making the system even more efficient and accurate.
---

In a "wired" world, all of the law enforcement agencies in the US (Canada and Mexico, at least) would have this facial recognition software available to all of their officers. It stands to reason that this functionality would be available in their police cars, and possibly even connected to their smart phones. When police come into contact with "the public", they would have the option to determine if the person who is in the presence of a police officer is also wanted somewhere in the US/Canada/Mexico. This capability would reduce the advantage criminals have when using fake IDs.

This capability could also be extended to banks, and other public places, like airports and bus stations--to help increase the reach of "the net".

So .. until the EPA is using this sort of technology--it's fair to say that they are not really "using the Internet".


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2011 at 10:59 am

This hyper-focusing on pictures/no pictures internet/no internet is just ridiculous. For one thing, most people in EPA don't use the EPA PD website for info. They get email alerts, talk to each other via churches, community groups, email lists, neighborhoods & families.
Most of the info I get EPA-based info is from the ways mentioned above.

EPA PD uses pictures when it makes sense to them to do so & they widely disseminate photos & info, amongst law enforcement & the public. If they don't want the photos of these men out & about, there's a reason for it. The public to whom they refer are people who know these guys, not those of us who don't know them -that's part of the subtext. While it stands out that they'd not distributing photos, it's a conscious choice on their part, & if it's limiting the public's ability to help, of course they know that as well. For cops to NOT publish pics of dangerous people involved in a crime spree is unusual enough for them to have their reasons to not do so.

Lastly, the public has no idea if the pics of these wanted men have been distributed to the law enforcement community.


Like this comment
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 28, 2011 at 2:30 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Sekou Black
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2011 at 3:13 am

Sekou Black is a registered user.

@ Kelly. It's this type of attitude and choice of expression that gets nothing accomplished. What year is this and... and how old are you? Sad, but a waste of emotion for me to feel sorry for you. I understand you're scared, but ranting and such as you are serves no purpose for anyone and only exacerbates the lack of unity between communities and exposes not only your fears but your outright ignorance.


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

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