San Jose police today released the names of two suspects in the city’s ninth homicide of 2013, but said one of them was shot and killed during a confrontation with police in March. Elias Mejia, 27, of San Jose, was shot by an officer on Woodhaven Drive on the evening of March 18 after he allegedly tried to ram the officer with his car, police said. Police said today that Mejia was suspected of being involved in a murder a week earlier.
The victim, 44-year-old Daniel Canales, was found dead of a gunshot wound in the 2700 block of Murtha Drive early the morning of March 11. Detectives suspect the motive for Canales’ murder may be gang-related, police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said. The second suspect in the case is Faustina Teresa Lopez, 26, of San Jose, who was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail last week, Morales said. Lopez has been charged with one count of murder with a gang-related enhancement and an enhancement for personal use of a firearm, according to the district attorney’s office. Lopez was arraigned today and will return to court on June 4. She is being held in jail without bail.
Mejia was shot at about 6:45 p.m. on March 18 after officers spotted him driving a stolen Honda Civic and followed it into a residential area near South White and Story roads. He allegedly refused to stop, driving straight at two police cars then crashing into an unoccupied vehicle, according to police. Police said that when Officer Bruce Barthelemy then exited his police car and ordered Mejia out of the Honda at gunpoint, Mejia drove toward Barthelemy, prompting him to open fire. Mejia was hit by the gunfire and later died at a hospital.
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