SJ police release cold case sketches

April 8, 2009 3:04:50 PM PDT
San Jose police today released sketches of two men they say shot and killed a man in a bank parking lot last May, in hopes that the suspects' friends or family members will come forward with information.

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Chief of Police Rob Davis said investigators have been working with witnesses and evidence for nearly a year, but have encountered some "roadblocks" in the case. Police are hoping the public can help move the case forward.

"One thing that we know is there are people who live in the community who know these individuals," Davis said at a news conference this morning.

The family of Vahid Hosseini also spoke, beseeching community members to share information on the three suspects involved in killing the 47-year-old storeowner they say was the patriarch of the family.

Casandra Hosseini, Vahid's 26-year-old daughter asked for the public's help in finding the "cowards" who approached her father in a bank parking lot, shot him in the head and took the cash he had just withdrawn.

Hosseini said anyone who has not provided information out of fear should call the Police Department's anonymous tip line.

"We know there are people who have information about my father's case who have not come forward," she said. The suspects, she said, "are a loaded gun in our communities."

A half-dozen members of the Hosseini family, including his wife, father and brother, attended the news conference, holding hands and wearing homemade T-shirts honoring the victim.

On May 23, Hosseini, 47, was leaving a Bank of the West branch at 1010 First St. in San Jose when three suspects approached him, according to police reports. One of the suspects shot Hosseini in the head before the men took his cash and fled in silver 2001 Honda CR-V, police said. Hosseini died 11 days later.

Detective Sgt. Paul Kelly said today that police located the car the day after the shooting. Police have conducted forensic investigations and have fingerprint and DNA evidence, he said. The vehicle was stolen in Sunnyvale, he said, and was left about seven blocks from the Bank of the West, near South Seventh and East Virginia streets.

A variety of organizations, including Bank of the West and the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation have offered rewards in the case, totaling $40,000. Kelly said a $50,000 Governor's reward application is also pending.

Kelly said police have information on the third suspect, but will not make it public because the investigation is ongoing. The two suspects pictured in the sketches include a man in his late 20s to early 30s, between 160 and 185 pounds, and a younger man in his mid-20s, he said. Both men have light facial hair and close-cropped dark hair combed back from their faces.

Vahid Hosseini was born in Iran and owned the Willow Market convenience store in San Jose for 25 years, his wife LeeAnn said. She still works in the store, and said her husband learned Spanish to better serve the neighborhood, and would offer credit to customers who were short on money. "He was always the first one to help," she said.

When police release suspect sketches, Davis said girlfriends, female acquaintances, or relatives often recognize their loved one and ultimately decide to do the right thing and call police.

"They look at the suspects and realize there is a grieving family out there," he said.

Anyone with information on the case should call Detective Sgts. Paul Kelly or Mike Brown at (408) 277-5283, or the anonymous tip line at (408) 947-7867.

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