Police search for man behind violent crime spree

Still image of the suspect from a gas station surveillance camera (BCN)

September 17, 2011 1:07:14 AM PDT
As of 11 p.m. San Jose police were still searching for the man behind a violent crime spree in the city's normally peaceful Willow Glen neighborhood.

Authorities say around 10 a.m. on Friday, at the Chevron station on Lincoln and Curtner avenues, the suspect approached a man pumping gas, asked him for money, and then shot him once. The shooting victim is expected to survive.

About an hour later, and about a mile away, police recovered the suspects' stolen black Nissan Z at The Plant Shopping Center at Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue. Police say the suspect then carjacked a woman's late 1990s white Lexus around 12 p.m. Police have not located the owner of the Lexus and fear that she was kidnapped by the suspect.

Relatives said it was 51-year-old Cindy Nguyen that was the missing woman. Nick Pham, who says Nguyen works for him, called coworkers for assistance earlier on Friday and disappeared.

Pham said she called "asking one of us to help come out and give her a jump because her battery died. Five minutes later she called back and said a Hispanic person is offering to help her and that's the last that we heard of her."

"That's our main priority, is to reunite that victim with her family and bring them home safely, so we're hoping that we can take this suspect into custody safely in one piece, be able to interview this person and that this person is going to help us find our victim and we can take the victim home," said San Jose Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

As of 11 p.m., police remained surrounded around the Montclair-KB Homes Condominium Complex at Maybury and North King roads. That is where the suspect exchanged fire with two officers around 6:30 p.m. and then ran into the complex. Police were approaching the situation very carefully since they are afraid the suspect is armed and desperate enough he might take hostages. Residents are not being allowed back into their homes until the situation is safe.

"I can tell you that [police] felt threatened enough to where they felt that deadly force was necessary. So they did engage him with gunfire and we do not know at this point if we hit him," said Dwyer.

Apartment complex resident Rudolfo Castillo said he told police he saw the suspect run into the complex near his apartment. He said he is ready for the police to catch the man so he can go home.

Earlier in the day, neighbors near the gas station shooting say they were stunned.

"I was about to go over and get some gas in my car," said witness John Ortiz. "That's when I noticed everything, and that's pretty scary, right next door to your house. Wow."

"Somebody knows this guy. Somebody knows where he is at, what he's responsible for. We're asking for their help in giving us a name, giving us a location where we can find him. He's considered armed and dangerous, so if you see this individual, don't try to contact him, call 911," said Dwyer.

The gas station's security camera captured an image of the suspect. He's described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 180 pounds with a mustache. He was last seen driving that a white Toyota Camry. Again, if you see him, you're asked to 911 immediately.

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