Murder charge added for 'Sunny Day' defendant


One of 16 defendants in the Operation Sunny Day indictments has been charged with the Jan. 15, 2013, murder of Jonathan Alcazar, 24, in East Palo Alto, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office said.

Leonard James Gaines, 22, is charged with killing Alcazar in the victim's Illinois Street backyard. His indictment is part of a major sweep of 16 alleged gang members who are accused of committing murders, attempted murders and other charges in connection with retaliation attacks, the DA's office said.

East Palo Alto's Sac Street and Da Vill Street gangs allegedly unified against the Taliban, a Menlo Park and East Palo Alto gang. The arrests were dubbed "Operation Sunny Day" after a code defendants allegedly used to indicate when a "hit" on a victim had been carried out, according to the DA's office.

Alleged gang members Raymond Bradford, 28, Emmanuel Hyland, 25, and Tyrone Love-Lopez, 21, were also previously charged with Alcazar's murder and for injuring another man. They pleaded not guilty in December 2014. Gaines pleaded not guilty to the murder charge on March 5.

Gaines is one of four men previously arrested for the 2013 attempted robbery of Plaza Jewelers in Redwood City and faces a weapons charge. He and defendants Bradford, Rodney Mitchell, 22, of East Palo Alto and Robert Wheller Jr., 26, of Hayward were arrested for the attempted robbery as part of Operation Sunny Day. Gaines remains in custody on $600,000 bail.

Gaines will appear in court again April 23 to set a date for his preliminary hearing.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


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

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,560 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 16 comments | 1,568 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,299 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,196 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 140 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.