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DSA In the News

Police say South San Francisco shooting victims uncooperative

Published on 12/28/2010

While three men died in an apparent gang-related shooting in South San Francisco last Wednesday night, the other three victims who suffered minor injuries are being extremely uncooperative with investigators, a police sergeant said Monday.

Police do not have any additional suspect information and residents of the Old Town neighborhood have not offered much help either, said South San Francisco police Sgt. Joni Lee.

Meanwhile, the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office identified the third victim in Wednesday’s triple homicide as Hector Flores, 20, of South San Francisco. Flores was lying in the alley on Eighth Lane at Linden Avenue clinging to life next to two others who were already dead when police arrived.

Omar Cortez, 18, and Gonzalo Avalos, 19, both South San Francisco residents, were pronounced dead on the scene. The shootings occurred just after 7 p.m., Dec. 22.

The other three victims, all minors, fled to the opposite side of Linden Avenue after being shot. They were all transported to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

None of the living victims have offered police any information related to the shootings, Lee said.

Last week, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the murders may go unsolved unless someone comes forward. The conflict in the Old Town neighborhood of the city is over “color and turf,” Wagstaffe said.

Witnesses told police they saw three male suspects in their late teens or early 20s driving away from the shooting in a dark-colored early 2000s-model Chevrolet Impala with tinted windows.

“We are looking for the community’s help in finding the suspects,” Lee said yesterday.

The working-class, mostly Hispanic neighborhood has suffered multiple homicides this year.

In May, a 15-year-old boy, Jose Lopez Manuel, was killed in a drive-by shooting two blocks from last week’s triple homicide. After that incident, police stepped up patrols in the neighborhood, fearing possible retaliation.

The area was also the scene of a homicide in March when 29-year-old Belmont resident Ronald Figueroa was shot in the face dead in front of a home in the 300 block of Lux Avenue a few blocks away from last week’s triple homicide.

In October, another incident on Linden and California avenues led to gunfire after a dark blue 1980s Volvo nearly struck three people walking on the sidewalk.

Words were exchanged after a man exited the vehicle to confront the pedestrians, according to police.

The suspect allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at one of the victims, who moved his head before the suspect fired one shot, grazing the victim’s temple, according to police.

The victim in that incident was not severely injured and declined medical attention for the minor head wound.

South San Francisco Mayor Kevin Mullin said the efforts of the entire community would be needed to stop the violence in the neighborhood.

Extra police will patrol the neighborhood, Mullin said.

The San Mateo County gang intelligence unit is assisting South City police with the investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information that might help the investigation to contact South San Francisco police at 877-8900.