19-year-old killed in San Jose shooting

May 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Santee Elementary School in San Jose was shut down Thursday as police investigated the shooting death of a young man. It is the 20th homicide in the city this year and the fourth homicide of the week.

More officers are on now out on the streets to try to calm things down. The chief called in the Gang Suppression Unit and the SWAT team to work the neighborhoods and figure out why things are so violent. San Jose police admit they are worried about this recent crime spike in the city. There have been seven shootings and four homicides in San Jose since Sunday.

Candles, balloons and flowers, were lovingly placed in the spot where Felipe Banderas was shot and killed just after 5:20 a.m. Thursday, on the corner of Audubon and Santee drives.

"He never in trouble or nothing. He never hang out with some bad people or nothing like that. He just working with me and all that," said Israel Hernandez, Banderas' uncle.

The 19-year-old moved to this East San Jose neighborhood last month. His family tells me, recently, gang members started approaching him.

"There are two gangs out here and one gang is trying to pull him and another is trying to pull him and he was holding his mug and saying, 'I'm not going to join no gang.' And somebody got him," said Robert Rios, a former gang member.

Starting Thursday night the department started upping patrols.

"We've seen the violence, people have felt the violence and it's our duty as officer to answer that call," said San Jose Police Ofc. Albert Morales.

Homicide detectives saturated the area around the shooting once again, hoping to find more clues. A few hours later, police surrounded a white Acura because there was a bullet hole through the front windshield. Police questioned two men they pulled from the car to see if it was involved in Thursday morning's shooting.

At the same time former gang members did some outreach nearby. Although police aren't calling this week's murders gang related, the former gang members don't want to take any chances.

Santee Elementary's principal cancelled the day's classes because the road was blocked off for the investigation.

"The other times that we've had things like this happen it's been really distressing for the kids. It's real hard for them to concentrate in the classroom," said Santee Elementary teacher Bill Jones.

The frustration is spreading across the city as more violence took place overnight. There were three other drive-by shootings, the first at Virginia and Almaden south of Downtown, followed by Lean and Hayes in South San Jose and Singleton and Senter in East San Jose. Cars and homes were hit by bullets, but this shooting across from Santee Elementary was the only homicide.

"The patrol units are stretched to the max at this point, but we do have our special operations division and they're going to start hitting the hot spots for gang violence and we're going to be doing everything we can to start quieting the streets down a little bit," said San Jose Police Dept. Lt Mike Sullivan.

Police believe the homicide victim was heading to work in the morning and are investigating if it's related to the other shootings overnight. Parents are frustrated with the violence as they found out their kids wouldn't be going to class.

"I don't like them to see this kind of things, but when it happens -- what can we do? Nothing," said Raquel Franco, parent of Santee student.

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