Two people have died and two others were injured after an argument at a Halloween party quickly escalated into a shooting early Sunday morning, East Palo Alto police said.
The incident occurred at about 2:45 a.m. when the East Palo Alto Police Department received notice of a ShotSpotter activation in the 2500 block of Pulgas Avenue; 911 dispatchers received multiple phone calls of a shooting.
"Preliminary reports indicate there was a private adult Halloween party being held outside at the rear of (a) business complex, a dispute escalated into a physical altercation that quickly erupted into gunfire. The suspect fled the scene and is still outstanding at the time," police said in a press release.
Officers arrived to the scene in less than two minutes to find four people with gunshot wounds. Personnel from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and American Medical Response arrived and treated the injured. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene and two others were transported with life-threatening injuries. The deaths are the city's first to occur in public since June 10, 2016.
The two people who initially had life-threatening injuries were upgraded to stable condition, police said around noon Monday.
Police identified one of the deceased as Eduardo Alvarado Sandoval, a 22-year-old Stockton resident. The second person who died was 23-year-old Mario Andres Vidales Mendez of Redwood City, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office said Wednesday.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Sandoval's family pay for his funeral expenses surpassed its $10,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old man, also known as Lalo, had been dropped off at the party by his mother, according to fundraiser organizers.
A separate GoFundMe page created to pay for Vidales' funeral has reached $3,220 of its $10,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.
Pablo Arias, owner of A-1 Auto Service and Towing, where the shooting took place, said his daughter was having a combined 22nd birthday and Halloween party in the business yard. About 35 to 40 people attended and had come from many locations.
There were no issues when he left the party between 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 a.m. Sunday, but a fight broke out while he was sleeping at home. Initially, the conflict was between two people, then it carried over to some females, then to some males, he said. His daughter's boyfriend was among the people who tried to break up the fight.
The armed person who the others did not know and wasn't a guest at the party suddenly appeared and started shooting, striking four people, including Arias' daughter's boyfriend.
Someone knocked on Arias' door to alert him about the shooting. When he arrived to the business, he found the place swarming with police. The boyfriend was one of two people taken to the hospital, he said.
"I never had problems in my life here in East Palo Alto. I feel very sorry. My daughter is very upset for the people who died," he said.
Anyone that witnessed the shooting or has any information is urged to contact the East Palo Alto Police Department by calling Detective Lydia Cardoza at 650-853-7249; sending an anonymous email to [email protected]; or sending an anonymous text or voicemail to 650-409-6792.