By Lois Yoo
ALAMEDA, CA – A victim testified here in Alameda County Superior Court last week that he was shot a total of 13 times in the middle of making dinner in his trailer home, and that Daniel Louis Araiza, at his preliminary hearing here, is the one who shot him.
On Dec. 7, 2020, Araiza allegedly shot the victim four times in his right arm, two in his left arm, six in his left leg, and once in his buttock or hip area, and is charged with 11 counts that include inflicting great bodily injury, use of a firearm, and attempted murder.
The victim stated that Araiza “arrived, he put his hood on, and started shooting. Bam, bam, bam.” The victim identified the shooter as a Latino man with black hair, a skinny build, and a height of 5’ 5” or 5’ 6″.
The shooter was not wearing a pandemic face mask and did not put his jacket hood on until he got to the crime scene, said the victim who claimed he had a clear view of the shooter’s face.
The victim raised his arms up and then covered his chest area to protect himself.
Defense Attorney Rico Tagliaferri accused the victim of sharing that information about putting his arms up to his chest for the very first time to the prosecutor and an officer in an interview right before the hearing.
However, the victim denied that and claimed to have already done so when he was getting out of the hospital.
Attorney Tagliaferri recounted that in Sept. 2019, the victim had an incident with Esteban Florez, a neighbor of the victim. The accuracy of Esteban’s last name, specifically Florez or Juarez, was debated back and forth between the court and counsel.
Tagliaferri asked if the victim threw a tile over a fence and if it ended up causing a cut on Florez’ arm.
The victim claimed, “No, it was the other way around. Yeah, he broke my trailer’s window.”
Tagliaferri responded, “After Mr. Juarez broke the window in your trailer, you threw something at him.” The victim claimed, “Yes.”
“And it hit him in the arm and caused a cut on his arm,” Tagliaferri continued.
“That’s not true. The police showed up and we cleared it up. They said if we didn’t figure it out, they were going to take us both to jail. We figured it out and it calmed down. He didn’t get cut or anything,” the victim shared.
When Judge Michael Gaffey asked Attorney Tagliaferri for the relevancy of Mr. Florez, Attorney Tagliaferri stated that it brought up the possibility of an alternate shooter.
Attorney Tagliaferri began to bring up the victim’s past with law enforcement. He referred to three dates of when the victim had committed an act of domestic violence against his significant other in Aug. 2016, Nov. 2016 and June 2018.
The victim bluntly responded, “We did fight.”
Attorney Tagliaferri also mentioned that in March 2018, the victim got into a physical altercation with law enforcement.
Judge Gaffey interrupted and informed Tagliaferri, “For the focus of this hearing, I don’t need to hear that.”
Deputy District Attorney Robert L. Mohen immediately said to the victim, “You were just asked about a lot of previous incidents. How many times were you actually convicted of a crime for any of those incidents?” The victim stated, “None.”
Mohen asked the victim, “Is your ability to walk affected today?” The victim claimed, “Yes, I can’t put all my weight on my foot.”
Attorney Tagliaferri asked the victim if he had been convicted of false imprisonment in Aug. 2016. The victim stated, “No, I don’t know what happened because after that incident, I was in jail for a couple days. And I got raped in jail.”
With the judge’s push for clarification, the victim ultimately stated that he did not suffer a conviction.
DA Mohen brought in Oakland Police Officer Anthony Andrews, who said he saw the victim bleeding from gunshot wounds and being worked on by two other officers at the crime scene.
He described, “There were a bunch of officers, there were casings in the roadway, and there was blood.”
Officer Alwin Luu located the Audi A3 that the shooter had been driving. Once Officer Luu drove up to the shooter’s vehicle, the driver immediately sped away. Officer Luu did not pursue the car as it sped away “because our helicopter was overhead. So our strategy was to let the helicopter follow it and wait until it lands.”
The last officer that was called in was Martin Ziebarth, who explained that both a revolver and a semiautomatic firearm eject casings.
“Revolvers will not eject spent casings on their own. To eject that spent casing, the operator of the firearm has to manually swing out the cylinder and then press an ejector rod, which will eject all of the casings whether they’ve been fired or not,” he said.
The officer added that, for a semiautomatic, “the operator of the firearm only has to pull the trigger. They don’t have to do anything else to have an expended casing ejected from the firearm.”
When asked about the particular casings found at the crime scene, Officer Ziebarth explained, “I believe that would be a semiauto. There are revolvers that are capable of firing 9mm ammunition. I’ve never come across one in my law enforcement experience at a crime scene.”
“If you were to fire from a revolver, it would require an addition of what are called clips. If you were to eject those rounds at a crime scene, you would also find the clips on the ground unless the person picked them up.”
In DA Mohen’s closing argument, he referenced the People v. Smith case that noted, “The fact the victim may have escaped death because of a shooter’s poor marksmanship does not necessarily establish a less culpable state of mind. Doing so without legal excuse generally gives rise to an inference that the shooter acted with expressed malice and thus supports conviction for attempted murder even if shooter had no particular motive.”
The defendant had allegedly also fired once in close range to a woman who was in her car. Her baby was also in the vehicle. Araiza happened to miss both the woman and her baby.
Mohen added, “That suggests that the reason the defendant stopped shooting was simply because he got to the end of the magazine. We heard from the victim that the reason he believes he got shot in his forearms is because he lifted his arms to protect his chest. I think firing that many rounds at someone speaks for itself of trying to kill them.”
DA Mohen claimed that the victim is “extremely lucky to survive this. I don’t think that negates the fact that there was a clear intent to kill.”
Attorney Tagliaferri began his closing statement by claiming DA Mohen’s argument to be “a bootstrap way to get the opinion of the court, saying ‘there is not a jury that would find that there’s reasonable doubt for intent to kill under these circumstances. If there wasn’t motive to kill, it might have just been a motive to injure.’”
Circling back to the victim’s recent addition of information about raising his arms, Tagliaferri said, “This happens a lot. Witnesses are afraid that someone is not going to be held responsible. He was shot and it was a horrific, mere-death experience. He’s worried if he doesn’t say the right thing, someone won’t be held responsible. I argue to the court that he made that up.”
Next, he argued, “It’s hard to imagine that if you are making 10 shots, you don’t hit someone in their center of mass no matter how skilled or not,” adding “There was no testimony about what the gun looked like. The only thing we know about it are the cartridges. So everything we’re doing is speculation based on the cartridges on the ground.”
He claimed he brought up the victim’s domestic violence incidents because it does have something to say about his credibility in the case.
Judge Gaffey said, “Seems to the court that the evidence for this hearing—the People have met their burden of proof as to what they got to prove as to the charges of counts one and two and as to the allegations that are alleged…great bodily injury and intentional discharge of a firearm leading to great bodily injury…There’s no doubt about that.”
Judge Gaffey concluded, “What the People have produced is ample evidence. I’m going to hold Mr. Araiza to all the charges and allegations.” He set an arraignment date for July 29.