4 gang members admit to shooting boy

November 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Police say four San Jose gang members have admitted that they attacked two young boys who were trick-or-treating on Halloween. In East San Jose the community held a vigil Thursday night.

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Police say the four suspects in court Thursday afternoon confessed to the Halloween attack on two young boys. All are being charged as adults with attempted murder. They admitted being Sureno gang members on the hunt for rival gang members.

On Story Road, 15-year-old Hugo Torres was the one who allegedly stabbed a 13-year-old several times and 16-year-old Diego Gutierrez allegedly shot the 12-year-old boy now fighting for his life.

"The boy was laying down right there on his backpack filled with candy," says liquor store owner Lam Ngyuen, who called 911.

The 12-year-old victim is now in grave condition and still in a coma. Friends at his middle school heard rumors that his Nike Corez shoes might have sparked the assault.

"He always wore them to school, but they were just black and white, they didn't have any color," says Melissa Leon, the victim's classmate.

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The suspects didn't say anything to police about the shoes, just that they were out looking for anyone who might be a Norteno, so they could show their Sureno gang strength. The unprovoked attack has the district attorney charging all four suspects as adults even though one is 15 years old and two are 16.

"It is a way to get the message out that regardless of your age, if given the opportunity we are going to try you as an adult and put an end to the gang violence that you see," says Nick Muyo, the district attorney's spokesman.

The councilwoman who represents the district where the attack took place called an emergency meeting Thursday saying the city will fight back.

"This incident must serve as a call to action to our community," says councilmember Nora Campos.

With both the victims of gang violence and gang members getting younger, many parents are ready to take a stand.

"It makes me angry and fearful, especially for the children in the neighborhood," says parent Olga Ruiz.

At Thursday night's vigil the rally cry was loud and clear as more than 100 outraged and scared San Jose residents walked silently along Story Road.

Armando Marmolejo, a former Sureno gang member, says a general code of conduct exists within the gang to not hurt children. In this case, it wasn't followed. He thinks it could be because the 12 year old was wearing black Nike Cortez shoes. They're commonly worn by Norteno gang members and the attack happened in known Sureno territory.

"Me simply wearing this hat can mean something, if I go into the wrong neighborhood," says San Jose resident Ray Molina.

The vigil was also about educating parents about the world their children are a part of.

East San Jose's call for action doesn't end here. There'll be a community meeting Tuesday night involving the city, elementary school districts, and the gang task force.

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