Violent Crime

* San Jose Murder Spree Continues With Monday Night Shooting

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It has been a bloody summer for San Jose and the violence is continuing, with the city logging its 29th murder on Monday night. Since the beginning of this month, six people have been shot or stabbed to death in San Jose. “No denying we’ve had these incidents occur with close proximity” time-wise, San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said. Aug. 13 was particularly violent, with three killed in three separate incidents, including a homeless woman who was stabbed by someone wielding a sword near West San Carlos Street and Meridian Avenue.

Earlier that day, around 4 p.m., Victor Mendoza, 21, was found suffering from a gunshot wound in the 2300 block of Denair Avenue. He died two days later at a hospital. Also killed on Aug. 13 was 38-year-old Martin Chacon, who was found shot in his car on Charles Street near Oakland Road that afternoon. On Monday, there were two shootings — one ending in death. The murder victim, a 24-year-old man, died at a hospital after being shot in the 1900 block of Poco Way around 6:40 p.m. Police believe that shooting was gang-related.

The second shooting happened around 7:15 p.m. when a 20-year-old was shot near North Jackson and Luz avenues. That victim is expected to survive. Over the weekend, a 52-year-old San Jose man was found dead in a parked car early Sunday morning in the 3000 block of Van Sansul Avenue. Later Sunday night, a man in his 30s was critically injured in a shooting in the 1600 block of East San Antonio Street. Police said he remained hospitalized as of this morning. A separate shooting on Saturday afternoon in the 200 block of San Jose Avenue injured a 15-year-old boy.

Monday’s killing marked San Jose’s 29th homicide of the year. At this time last year, there had been 27 homicides, San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said. Thirty-nine people were murdered altogether in 2011. Garcia said this year’s rate is comparable to last year’s, but that “It’s concerning to us. We’d like to see no homicides.” In previous years, total killings reached only 20 in 2010 and 28 in 2009, according to police records. Garcia noted that San Jose is considered a major city with a relatively low homicide rate.

Several of the slayings over the past few weeks are being investigated as possibly gang-related. He said the Police Department works closely with the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, which provides outreach to quell gang-related violence. Single mom and San Jose native Carrie Greco, who has two elementary school children in the San Jose Unified School District, said the increase in slayings worries her.

She has gotten involved with the local nonprofit People Acting in Community Together, or PACT, which has raised money for families affected by street violence and pushed schools to provide counseling for children. “It’s an emotional thing for me,” Greco said. “And my kids, they get sad.” She sees violence on the streets affecting the education system and says she is working to make sure there are resources — such as counseling, activities or support groups — for youth before they get involved in dangerous gangs.

“Shootings are one of my biggest fears, especially gangs,” said the mother of two boys. “I’ve always felt those who veered to gangs, they need support.” San Jose saw a spike in violence in 1997, when with 43 murders occurred. The city’s population at that time was 840,529, compared to 971,372 early this year, according to city planning and police figures.

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