By Danielle Eden Silva
On May 10, 2017, two shootings took place: one in Yolano, in Solano County, and one in Wayside Market in Knights Landing. In the Wayside Market shooting, two siblings were injured from gunshot wounds. In Department 8, Judge David W. Reed presided over the preliminary hearing of Jesse Rafael Gonzales. Mr. Gonzales is charged with 6 counts: two counts of attempted murder with the enhancement of street gang activity, one count of street gang activity, one count of street gang activity with two enhancements of inflicting great bodily injury, and two counts of discharging a firearm with the enhancement of street gang activity. All counts have the enhancement of use of a firearm.
To begin the preliminary, the prosecution appointed Officer Pablo Gonzales as their lead investigator before calling up their first witness.
Deputy Sheriff Kyle Leonard of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office testified first. After 10 or 11 pm on May 10, 2017, he had been dispatched to Knights Landing where two subjects, “AG” and “BG,” had been shot. He was the first to arrive there and noticed that AG had a leg wound. Deputy Leonard was able to interview BG despite her injury. BG stated she had heard whistling and someone yelling, “Northside” and, when she went out, the shooting began. She couldn’t give a description of the shooter.
Deputy Leonard also received a statement from BG’s then-partner, “IF.” IF had been holding a child when the shots were fired and dove for the ground. He did not recognize the shooter but noticed he wore a gray sweatshirt, black shorts, and white socks with a height of about 6’2″. IF stated there had been four to five shots.
Senior Crime Scene Investigator Stephanie Gill of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office would testify next. She arrived at the scene that night and documented five bullet casings near two vehicles: a white vehicle and a black truck. Investigator Gill had set up placards near the casings and took a picture of them. Footprints were also located near the casings with side lighting. There were other footprints but the most prominent pattern was highlighted. She could not tell when the footprints were made.
Investigator Gill also examined bullet holes. Several appeared to be around the exterior of the door but one bullet had gone straight through the door into a floorboard. She had also noted possible bullet fragments.
Detective John Ney would testify next. He had also arrived at the crime scene the night of the shooting and collected video footage around Wayside Market. In the footage, which was dark that night, he noticed there were three individuals walking around the Wayside Market parking lot and the victims’ apartment. All were wearing hoodies. One with the white shorts and the gray hoodie was taller than the other two. Eventually, they would appear across the apartment. The footage then caught muzzle flashes which the detective identified as gunshots. Bullets then ricocheted off the apartment onto the ground, sending dirt flying up. The gunshots were done by the taller one standing along a pickup truck, according to Detective Ney, as the taller one moved forward as the muzzle flashes moved forward. The ricochets also occurred after the muzzle flashes.
In the footage, Detective Ney also noticed the taller one had black and white shoes and the other two had black shoes and white shoes. The shoes of the taller individual were black with a white stripe, according to what Detective Ney saw in the footage. He noted them as black and white Vans that were similar to Mr. Gonzales’s footwear when he was booked. Detective Pablo Gonzales was the one who believed the shoes from the footage were Vans. He specifically noted the white shoelaces and soles of the black shoe. The white stripe was not heavily defined.
Detective Ney also received from another detective letters to “TR.” The three letters were initialed with “JG” which Detective Ney believed was the defendant. Detective Ney was aware that TR was a Norteño. However, the letters were not sent as “kites,” small rolled-up message scrolls sent in jails or prisons. Instead, they were written on folded half-paper or full-sized paper. The letters referred to TR by his gang nickname and variations of it. Within the contents, Detective Ney pointed out references to the trial dates, co-defendants (one of the co-defendants speaking out against him), and shootings of this case. He also noted the older brother of the two victims, “Jo. G.”
The prosecution began to bring up evidence regarding photographs the defendant had in his cell, specifically Facebook pictures of him that were “gang-related.” However, this was evidence provided from the prosecution to the defense, who had shown this to the defendant and then was noted again in court.
The last witness of the day was Detective Gonzales, the lead investigator. He was a patrol officer that was dispatched to Yolano after shots were fired past 10 pm. He would later also talk with BG after she was stabilized. BG stated she had been at her apartment with her brother AG and her boyfriend IF, with Jo. G. asleep in the backroom. Yelling and screaming were heard and she headed outside. One tall, skinny individual and two shorter individuals were screaming “Northside” and “Norte” while she sat on a bench. The taller individual had a gun and a grey sweatshirt. Detective Gonzales could not get a statement from AG.
AG was noted to be a Sureño, like Jo. G. The detective had known about the family from prior contacts as well. He stated he had gang tattoos.
Detective Gonzales then focused on the vehicle of a dark-colored or blue Altima that he and Detective Ney had seen in the footage. They began to look through other street footage of the vehicle where, at some point, they noticed three individuals inside a non-tinted window car. They would also look through arrest warrants where the detective found Mr. Gonzales was arrested with the vehicle due to a search warrant.
The defendant’s social life was also searched. He had had prior contacts with EG and ES. Mr. Gonzales’s phone was also searched through a warrant, as well as another tablet and smartphone. In one phone, there were rap lyrics noting going to Yolano and firing “an iron.” In his Snapchat, Mr. Gonzales had taken videos that day with ES and EG of the clothes he was wearing. Mr. Gonzales had white shorts and black shoes with a white sole. ES had a grey sweatshirt, jeans, and Nike Airmax. EG had sweats and black Nike shoes. The videos had also been timestamped.
When EG and ES had been arrested after Mr. Gonzales, EG agreed to speak to the detective. He noted that he had been with ES and the defendant. He stated they had been drinking and drove around for a while in the defendant’s blue Altima. Mr. Gonzales, while driving by Yolano, then pulled out a gun and fired at some random people, saying, “Norte.”
They would eventually go back to EG’s home and walk around for a bit. EG admitted to having a pocket knife because he believed they were going to “squabble” or fight. He claimed he wouldn’t have brought it if he knew the defendant had a gun. However, EG did not have hard feelings towards Jo. G. specifically. EG remembered, “a lot” of individuals coming out of the house and one of them referred to EG, ES, and Mr. Gonzales as “busters” – a derogatory term for Northerners. EG would also be shown the video footage where he would show who was who. He also stated that the defendant and ES were also part of the gang but the detective could not remember specifics.
ES, after invoking the right to an attorney, stated he did not recall what happened exactly as on some occasions he had been knocked out. He remembered the Yolano shooting and the defendant shooting in the air. After, they drove to EG’s house and walked around. He didn’t know that the defendant still had the gun on him but they ended up in the parking lot. EG was the one noted as yelling “Norte” and “Northside” and he didn’t mention seeing others.
The case will resume tomorrow at 1:30 pm in Department 8.