2 arrested in shooting death of SJ Safeway worker, search involved US Marshals, Utah officials

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, August 19, 2022
2 arrested in shooting death of SJ Safeway worker
Two men have been arrested in the shooting death of San Jose resident and Safeway employee, Manuel Huizar.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Two men have been arrested in the shooting death of San Jose resident and Safeway employee, Manuel Huizar.

Huizar, 24, was working at the Safeway on Hamilton Avenue on June 5, when he was shot during an early morning robbery. Police were called to the scene around 3:30 a.m.

"What we have here is just a hard-working person, very well-liked by his fellow employees, trying to do the right thing at the Safeway when he was confronted by the suspect who fatally shot and killed him," San Jose Police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told ABC7 News.

San Jose residents Tevita Tuakalau, 18, and Jacob Parrilla, 19, have been identified by the San Jose Police Department for their suspected involvement.

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"There's no reason why an 18 and 19-year-old should be out on our city streets illegally possessing a firearm, that then is used in a crime," Camarillo said.

SJPD believes there was an altercation between Huizar and suspect Tuakalau. They say Tuakalau allegedly fired the deadly shot.

"The victim, in this case, sensed something was going on, sensed that these two were trying to do something they shouldn't have been doing, confronted them," Camarillo said. "And, unfortunately, he lost his life."

The investigation and search for suspects uncovered that Tuakalau left the state. With the assistance of the Salt Lake City Homicide and Apprehension Unit and the U.S. Marshals, Tuakalau was located and arrested in Salt Lake County, Utah on Aug. 11.

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"He did reside in the state of Utah for some time, before spending some time here in San Jose," Camarillo said. "Obviously fleeing back to Utah after this homicide. That didn't matter. Our detectives tracked him down. It took a little while to locate him. Obviously, we're talking about a very far distance."

Tuakalau remains in custody in the Salt Lake County Main Jail and is awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County to face homicide charges.

SJPD said its Covert Response Unit found and arrested suspect Parrilla on Aug. 17. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for conspiracy.

"He was aware that this individual shot and killed the victim," Camarillo said about Parrilla. "And it's still yet to be revealed in court -- when that happens -- what his exact role was in this whole case."

In the days that followed Huizar's death, family, friends and Safeway patrons added to a growing memorial on a sidewalk near the grocery store.

"It's difficult to sometimes sit there or stand there and watch people do this without trying to intervene," Camarillo said. "We're also seeing that time and time again. I know I've seen a lot of videos circulating on social media where someone intervenes and tackles a suspect. That's someone's individual decision. But you know, we will caution people that there could be some very dire consequences. We know the amount of illegally possessed firearms that are circulating in our San Jose streets, and this could happen anywhere."

A GoFundMe campaign was set up by Huizar's family.

They described him as the sweetest son, brother, grandson, cousin and friend who was senselessly killed toward the end of his shift at Safeway.

Huizar's death marks San Jose's 14th homicide of 2022. Police do not believe there were additional suspects in this case.

On Friday the district attorney decided not charge Parrilla in this shooting allowing him to be released from jail.

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