Suspects Charged in Gang Murder Outside First Communion Party in San Leandro - NBC Bay Area
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Suspects Charged in Gang Murder Outside First Communion Party in San Leandro

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    The fatal shooting of a man outside a First Communion party in San Leandro last month stemmed from an ongoing feud between gangs in Hayward and Union City, police investigators wrote in court documents released Thursday.

    Prosecutors charged two suspects on Wednesday with the murder of Dariel Arreola, 28, of Manteca, outside the San Leandro Senior Community Center at 13909 E. 14th St. just after 7:30 p.m. on May 15.

    Arreola was affiliated with the Hoggs gang in South Hayward and was targeted by three members of a rival faction of the Nortenos, the Decoto XIV gang in Union City, according to documents filed by San Leandro police Detective Steven Cesaretti.

    Two of the suspects were identified as 25-year-old Norberto Villarreal and 18-year-old Gabriel Martinez. Martinez was 17 years old at the time of Arreola's death, but has been charged as an adult in the slaying along with several other crimes. The third suspect has not been identified because he is 14 years old.

    Police connected Villarreal and Martinez to the May 15 shooting through witness statements and DNA evidence. A group of 40 to 50 people were on a large patio outside the First Communion party that night when a minivan drove by and someone inside opened fire on Arreola.

    Arreola was struck seven times in the head and torso. He was the only one struck by gunfire and was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The minivan sped out of the senior center parking lot, but crashed into a car on East 14th Street and then into a pole. The van's occupants got out and ran from the crash scene, according to police.

    Investigators searched the van and found a pistol with seven rounds missing from the magazine. The pistol was sent to a San Mateo crime lab for DNA processing.

    Hayward and Union City police detectives advised San Leandro police that Arreola was a Hoggs gang member and that the Hoggs had been feuding with the Decoto XIV gang. When a witness picked Villarreal from a photo lineup, a Union City detective identified him as a member of the Decoto XIV gang, Cesaretti said.

    On June 15, the San Mateo crime lab found Villarreal's DNA on the gun found in the minivan.

    Police obtained a warrant for his arrest and took him into custody at his home on South Willard Avenue in San Jose during a SWAT operation that took place at four locations and involved more than 125 officers from five East Bay law enforcement agencies, according to police.

    Investigators also connected Villarreal to a shooting in Hayward on Dec. 30, suspected to involve the same feud between the Decoto XIV and the Hoggs.

    According to court documents filed by Hayward police Officer Sheryl Mitchell, a gang suppression specialist, Villarreal was driving a black Chevrolet Camaro in Hayward on Dec. 30 when he spotted a Hoggs gang member driving nearby.

    Villarreal pulled up alongside the Hoggs member, who had his girlfriend and 1-year-old child in the car with him, and opened fire, hitting the car at least once. The Hoggs member got out of his car and fired at Villarreal in retaliation as he drove away, according to Mitchell.

    Prosecutors charged Villarreal with attempted murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle.

    Martinez was also connected to an earlier shooting on East 12th Street in Hayward on April 28. He is charged with attempted murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and shooting at an occupied dwelling for that incident.

    He is also charged with two counts of second-degree robbery for an incident a day earlier.

    Martinez was arrested on May 18 in Hayward. He remains in custody without bail and is set to return to court on July 26 for arraignment.

    Villarreal is also in custody without bail and is scheduled to return to court on July 13.

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