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Two Norteno gang members were convicted of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder for a shooting in Salinas in 2009, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. Salinas residents Matthew Ruiz and Albert Hernandez, both 20, are known Norteno gang members who were found guilty in connection with the shooting on Oct. 14, 2009 on Archer Street that killed two teenagers and left two teenagers injured, prosecutors said.
According to the district attorney’s office, the two men were in the vicinity of Elkington Street, posing as rival Sureno gang members on the day of the shooting. Ruiz and Hernandez made contact with four Sureno gang members and got into the victims’ car on the pretext that they wanted to find Norteno gang members who had beaten them up the previous day, prosecutors said.
Using their feigned allegiance to the Sureno gang as a cover, the two Norteno gang members directed the victims in a quest to engage Nortenos in a fight, according to the district attorney’s office. The two men led the victims to the area on Archer Street where they shot and killed two of the victims and seriously injured two other teens in the car. Salinas police were able to identify the suspects after locating a video of them getting into the victims’ vehicle.
Investigators were also able to gather evidence that showed Hernandez and Ruiz were affiliated with the Norteno street gang. After a six-week trial and three days of deliberation by the jury, Ruiz and Hernandez were found guilty of the charges for shooting the four victims, as well as special enhancements finding that the crimes were gang-motivated. Ruiz and Hernandez will be sentenced on Feb. 27 before Judge Adrienne Grover.
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