Investigators detail what led up to fatal I-880 shooting of 5-year-old girl, arrest of 3 suspects

Zach Fuentes Image
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Investigators detail what led up to fatal I-880 shooting of young girl
Fremont and Milpitas authorities detail what led up to deadly I-880 shooting of 5-year-old Eliyanah and the arrest of three suspects.

MILPITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- Ten days after a 5-year-old girl was shot and killed while riding in a car on Interstate 880, investigators detailed the events that led up to the shooting and the arrests of three men.

"This incident is another unfortunate reality of gun violence within our communities," said Fremont Police Chief Sean Washington Tuesday at a press conference.

Police, the California Highway Patrol, and the Alameda County District Attorney detailed the shooting on the streets of Fremont that happened just before the freeway shooting and explained how the suspects were found just hours later in Santa Cruz.

Five-year-old Eliyanah was riding with her family to dinner on April 8 just before 7 p.m. when she was shot in the chest and died.

It happened on Southbound I-880 near Dixon Landing Road.

RELATED: Family friend speaks out following deadly Bay Area freeway shooting of 5-year-old girl

CHP investigators now say the shooting that killed a 5-year-old girl along I-880 Saturday night, took place in the "Fremont area" of the interstate.

Her 7-year-old brother was sitting right next to her.

Court documents say the suspects yelled a gang slogan as they shot into the vehicle that they believed belonged to a rival gang.

The CHP says at this point they believe the people in the vehicle that were shot at were just innocent victims and that there was no gang affiliation on their end.

Almost immediately after the shooting, the family found a CHP officer on the road.

"They pulled over, grabbed their young daughter and handed her to the CHP officer asking for help," said CHP Chief of the Golden Gate Division Ezery Beauchamp. "He did everything he could to try to help her and requested medical services."

Last week, Humberto Anaya, Kristo Ayala Valderrama and Emmanual Sarango were arrested in connection with the shooting.

RELATED: Gang members charged with murder in fatal I-880 shooting of 5-year-old, DA says

Investigators say they believe all are Sureno gang members.

Tuesday, the Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price shed more light on the identical charges each is facing.

Including one count of murder, six counts of firing into an occupied vehicle and one count of assault with a firearm following an earlier shooting in Fremont.

"If convicted as currently charged, each defendant faces a minimum of 42 years to life," Price said.

The Fremont shooting happened less than a half hour before the freeway shooting.

Fremont police say the victim in that shooting was walking on Fremont Boulevard when one of the suspects commented on the victim's red clothing, which was the color of a rival gang.

RELATED: Push for more cameras on Bay Area freeways after fatal I-880 shooting of 5-year-old

A suspect got out of the car and shot at the victim, who was not hit.

Tuesday, Fremont Police revealed that that shooting gave them critical information that eventually led to an arrest in Santa Cruz three hours later.

Including footage from nearby cameras that identified the suspect vehicle and license plate.

"Two community cameras in the area Fremont Boulevard and Norris road were present and captured the majority of the incident, including one suspect pointing a firearm at the victim," Washington said.

With investigators confirming that both shootings are believed to be gang related, the question was posed by multiple reporters to DA Pamela Price at Tuesday's press conference as to whether there will be any gang enhancements.

"We are working closely to evaluate the evidence and to determine if there will be additional charges," she said.

As the investigation continues, so does the grieving process for Eliyanah's family.

We reached out to a family spokesperson Tuesday and did not hear back. Friday, following the initial news of arrests, the spokesperson said that they are "Just happy justice will be served. Now they can focus on the funeral and their baby girl."

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