A Salinas man faces life in prison after being convicted of attempted murder in the gang-related shooting of two high school students, prosecutors said today. A Monterey County Superior Court jury on Thursday found Jorge Sanchez guilty of two counts of premeditated attempted murder, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and being an active participant in a street gang, Deputy District Attorney David Rabow said in a statement.
The jury also found true the allegations that the crimes were committed for the benefit of the Norteno street gang, and that Sanchez personally discharged a firearm, causing great bodily harm to both victims, Rabow said. The shooting occurred Feb. 15, 2008, as the two victims, two boys ages 14 and 15, were leaving Alisal High School, according to prosecutors.
Sanchez, 19, was riding with another alleged gang member on Williams Road when he saw the boys, whom he believed were Sureno gang members. Sanchez and his driver waited for the boys in the neighborhood where they expected them to walk. When he spotted the boys, Sanchez challenged them about their gang affiliation, then shouted out his gang’s name and fired at them with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
Two shots struck one boy and two struck the other, while four other shots went through the unoccupied house the boys were standing in front of. Sanchez was identified by a witness and one of the victims, Rabow said. The driver ultimately confessed, entered a plea agreement and agreed to testify against Sanchez.
The jury trial began June 6. Jurors deliberated for several hours.
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