TULARE, Calif. --Thomas Guerra, who also goes by the name Ashton Chavez, works as a landscape architect and claims he's the grand-nephew of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. The 29-year-old is now being investigated by the San Diego City Attorney's office for spreading HIV to others on purpose.
"It's criminal, it's sociopathic. He has no understanding, any attempt to care for what these people are going through," said a person who wanted to remain anonymous.
Our sister station in San Diego spoke with the person who says he was infected by the Guerra. He did not want to be identified. "I know of 24 individuals that have been impacted by this. I'm hearing that there could be hundreds."
An investigator's report shows the dozens of text messages and emails where Guerra tells people he's HIV negative, has sex with them and then boasts about infecting the person in other messages.
Right now the case is being investigated as a misdemeanor, but if investigators can prove it was intentional, it could be raised to a felony charge.
"You know in my heart I can't believe that. I cannot and I don't believe that he really is doing that. I don't want to believe it," said Roseana Alvarado, a family friend of Guerra, "His parents were very angry when he found out he was gay. I took him in. He needed someone to love him."
Guerra is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.