Police believe three suspects in two fatal gang-related shootings in East Palo Alto earlier this month might also have been involved in a killing and several robberies in Colorado. Police released the suspects’ names at a news conference today, along with a timeline of the crimes they are believed to have committed starting July 13, when a Menlo Park woman was shot and killed while sitting in a car in East Palo Alto.
The suspects are Christian Fuentes, 20, who is currently in custody in Alameda County; Jaime Cardenas, 19; and Fidel Silva, 20. All three are East Palo Alto residents. Cardenas and Silva are still at large. Investigators believe one or more members of the trio committed the two homicides in East Palo Alto on July 13 and July 19, as well as two armed robberies and a triple shooting in Grand Junction, Colo., in which one person was killed and two others injured, police Chief Ron Davis said.
The July 13 shooting killed 19-year-old Catherine Fisher, who was sitting in a parked car with a male and another female in the 2500 block of Annapolis Street when she was shot at about 2:10 a.m., acting Capt. Jeff Liu said. Two suspects approached the car and opened fire. Police believe the gunmen were targeting the male in the vehicle, Liu said. Police received numerous anonymous tips that identified Fuentes, Cardenas and Silva as persons of interest in the case.
Investigators believe the three men then went to Grand Junction, where Fuentes had a “connection,” Liu said. Police did not elaborate on the nature of the connection, citing the ongoing investigation. The three men are being sought by Grand Junction police in connection with an armed robbery at a cash advance business, a home burglary, an armed robbery at a liquor store, and a fatal shooting, all of which were committed on July 16. Investigators believe the trio then returned to San Mateo County.
On July 19 at about 7:30 p.m., detectives from East Palo Alto police and Fremont police arrested Fuentes for a parole violation, Liu said. He was booked into San Mateo County Jail and subsequently transferred to Alameda County Jail, where he remains in custody. Later that night, at about 8:36 p.m., 26-year-old Hugo Chavez was shot near 13 Camellia Court in East Palo Alto.
Liu said he was approached by a gunman who had a brief conversation with him before shooting him several times. Chavez was taken to a hospital, where he died about four hours later.Cardenas was later identified as a suspect in the killing, police said. Davis said the community response to the killings provided enough information for police to identify the men as suspects in the homicides. “We’re urging anyone who knows these suspects or has seen them to please let us know,” Davis said. Police believe the killings were gang-related, but declined to say which gangs might have been involved.
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