East Palo Alto police on Friday asked for help in the hunt for a murder suspect believed to be hiding in the Bay Area. At the same time police also announced they have caught another accused killer, who was hiding across the border.
Police said they are going public because the two cases show how much progress has been made in a city once called the murder capitol of the world.
The first case stems from a gang-related attack that left a young man shot and killed, and three others, including two 18-year-old women, wounded at Purdue Street and Georgetown Avenue on August 17 of last year.
Police arrested one suspect in the case and banded with the United States Marshall's Service to track down another suspect in Mexico. The suspect tracked out of the country was 25-year-old Antonio Sotelo-Moreno, who was brought to San Mateo County Jail this week.
Officials said they used a lot of resources because these types of crimes can shaken a community's faith in law enforcement.
"Certainly when they flee the area, flee justice, it's extremely important for us because when there's no closure it just lingers on and on," said Don O'Keefe with the United States Marshall's Service.
Police are also counting on that public faith as they ask for help in searching for 23-year-old Warren Morrison, suspected of gunning down a man on Oct. 25 on Wisteria Lane.
A $5 million arrest warrant has been issued for Morrison.
"Mr. Morrison is somewhere out in the community in the Bay Area," East Palo Alto Chief Albert Pardini said. "He's armed and dangerous."
Officials said the arrest and warrant show how much the city has changed since the days it had more murders per capita than any other city in the nation.
Investigators said the key to safer city has been more staffing and community involvement, both leading to a boost in public cooperation.
"We've worked a lot of major cases, homicides, other shootings where it's very difficult to get witnesses," said Jerry Alcaraz, East Palo Alto Police investigations commander. "And we know there are witnesses out there. In this case, it wasn't as difficult."
Pardini said in the near future he plans to boost the police ranks back up to a full 36 officers so he can restore specialized units, including the city's gang intervention team.