$5,000 reward for info about 'Church Man's' murder

May 16, 2011 1:34:33 PM PDT
Santa Clara police have announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of "The Church Man," a well-known community member who was killed last week.

The killing of Luis Enrique Tavara, 62, on Thursday is an unusual one for the community, police Sgt. Ray Carreira said.

He said the slaying appears to have been a random act of violence. "It's disturbing to the Police Department," Carreira said. "Why would someone want to do this to someone who went to church every day?"

Tavara worked as a machinist not far from where he was found bleeding from the head on the sidewalk in the 3400 block of Lafayette Street around 5:50 a.m. Thursday, Carreira said.

Santa Clara firefighters responded and administered CPR, but Tavara was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later. It appears he died from blunt force trauma to the head, Carreira said.

Carreira said that from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. today, more than 25 officers shut down traffic in both directions on Lafayette Street and handed out hundreds of fliers with information about the crime.

Officers and detectives also canvassed nearby neighborhoods, going door to door to reach out to residents.

"Our efforts are generating leads that we're actively pursuing," Carreira said. "We're working hard to solve this case."

Carreira said Tavara has family in Peru and had been living in Santa Clara for more than eight years.

Tavara's death marks the city's second homicide of the year.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Cummins at (408) 615-4800. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call (408) 615-4826.

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