A man who was shot to death by San Jose police last week was a suspect in the killing of two former San Jose State University students earlier this month, police said today. The students, Eric Kenzo Otokawa, 21, of San Jose, and Kristina Lynn Pandula, 20, of Sunnyvale, were found shot in the 800 block of South Third Street around 11 a.m. on Oct. 8. “They were murdered execution style — in the back of the head,” said Lt. Alan Cavallo, commander of the homicide unit. He called the crime an “extremely brutal and senseless act.”Otokawa was pronounced dead at the scene, and Pandula was taken to a hospital for treatment but died of her injuries the next night, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.
Police said today they believe the man responsible for their deaths was 23-year-old Ricardo Moreno. Moreno had also been a San Jose State University student who once lived in the same dorm building as the victims, Cavallo said. He said their connection was “narcotics related.” Otokawa sold drugs — namely marijuana and methamphetamine — and Moreno would purchase drugs from him, Cavallo said. Pandula, who was Otokawa’s girlfriend, was “a victim of circumstance,” Cavallo said. On Oct. 10, police encountered Moreno in the 700 block of Hillsdale Avenue, across from the Central County Occupational Center after responding to a report of a man walking in the area with a handgun and wearing minimal or no clothing.
A confrontation ensued between Moreno and three police officers, during which one of the officers shot and killed him. Cavallo said Moreno had refused to comply with the officers’ demands and made “furtive movements” as though he intended to shoot the officers. It does not appear that Moreno fired his gun at the officers during the confrontation, Dwyer said. Cavallo said today that Moreno’s gun was the same one used to kill Otokawa and Pandula. Furthermore, officers recovered bullets in his jacket pocket similar to those found at the scene of the double murder.
Had he survived the police shooting, Moreno would have faced murder charges, Cavallo said. Pandula was a pre-nursing student who was last enrolled in classes over the summer, according to university spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris. She was associated with the Delta Gamma sorority, Harris said. Otokawa, who had not yet declared a major, was last enrolled in classes in the spring. He had listed his hometown as Atlanta, Ga., Harris said.
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