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Los Gatos Police Help Arrest 5 Alleged Gang Members for Murder in Campbell Park

The suspects, 17 to 20, belong to the Surenos, and are culpable for last month's killing of their 16-year-old friend, whom a transient -- in self defense -- stabbed to death, police said.

Photo: Campbell Police Department.
Photo: Campbell Police Department.
Five men, from 17 to 20 years of age, were arrested last week by Campbell and Los Gatos police and arraigned today for their alleged role leading to the death of a teen after a violent attack on a transient man in a city park last month, according to police. 

The men, all reportedly local Sureno gang members, were charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office with murder after a 24-year-old Campbell transient, fearing for his life during the unprovoked beating, stabbed to death one of the group, said the Campbell Police Department.

The five from San Jose and Stockton were arraigned this afternoon -- April 2 -- at 1:30 p.m. If convicted, they face 15 years to life in prison, according to officials.

On March 28, Campbell officers, with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team and the Los Gatos Police Department, served search warrants at the five suspects' homes. 

All five suspects were arrested at that time and evidence was seized. 

Under the "provocative act" doctrine, a person can be guilty of murder even if someone else did the actual killing. The provocative act doctrine applies when a person did not actually do the killing, but caused a third party to kill in response to his or his accomplices' life-threatening act. 

The defendants are each charged with suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and each charge alleges a gang enhancement, police said. The two juveniles, both 17, are charged as adults. 

The defendants are: Anthony Fernandez, 20, of Stockton; Joshua Mauricio, 18, of San Jose; Alejandro Sandoval, 18, of San Jose; Julio Ibarra, 17, San Jose, and Brallan Villegas, 17, of San Jose. 

Todd Tharp, 24, a local transient was initially arrested following the March 16 fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Ivan Diaz, but was released from the Santa Clara County Main Jail and not charged after prosecutors and police concluded he was acting in self-defense.  

On March 16, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Campbell police began investigating the attack in John D. Morgan Park that lead to the hospitalization of Tharp and the death of Diaz. 

Police said they believe the group attacked the transient, knocking him to the ground and kicking and punching him repeatedly on his head and upper body. 

Believing that he was going to be seriously injured, if not killed, Tharp defended himself with a knife, by swinging it once and wounding Diaz, one of the subjects who was kicking him in the head, police said.  

The group then fled the scene, taking Diaz to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where he later died of his injuries, according to reports.
  
Campbell police understand the magnitude of this incident, not only to the family of the 16-year-old victim, but the community as a whole, the department said in a statement, adding that officers are committed to keeping the community safe and will not tolerate gang violence. 

Campbell law enforcement officials ask that anyone with information regarding the incident contact the Campbell Investigations Unit at 408-871-5190. 

Those wishing to remain anonymous can also contact the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867).
Lori Swanson April 03, 2014 at 11:15 AM
So grateful that law enforcement chose to protect the disabled man, and not further stigmatize those with brain disorders!
Renee Castillo April 03, 2014 at 02:02 PM
FOR ONE THING BEFORE YOU START TRYING TO LABEL MY SON WITH BEING SURENO YOU NEED TO GET ALL YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT FIRST ..HE HAS NEVER BEEN IN A GANG NEVER ARRESTED FOR GANG ACTIVITIE .NOR DOES HE HAVE TATTOOS ..YES HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THERE BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE HIM A SURENO..

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