Suspect ID’d in Sobrato apartment murder

Police tape surrounds the Sobrato Transitional Apartments on Monterey Road Monday morning.  

The suspect in the July 22 murder of a 21-year-old man at the Sobrato Transitional Apartments on Monterey Street is “actively avoiding” police contact — and because police have not obtained the handgun used in the shooting, he is considered armed and dangerous.

Fernando Minero, 24 of Gilroy, is wanted for manslaughter in the killing of Martin Rojas, a 21-year-old Gilroy resident, who died at Saint Louise Regional Hospital the night of the incident, according to Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao.

Steve Lowney, deputy district attorney, will be prosecuting the case in the South County Courthouse, once Minero is located by police.

Lowney did not comment as to why Minero is being charged with manslaughter instead of homicide, but did say that the case was sent from the homicide unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office because the investigation determined homicide charges were not warranted.

Minero, a Hispanic man, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. He is the only suspect wanted in the murder of Rojas.

“At one point, we received information that at one point he had fled the country to avoid police,” Gallacinao said. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Lowney believes that Rojas and Minero were drinking and “socializing” with a few other people in apartment 202 at the Sobrato Transitional Apartments  July 22 when the evening got out of hand, leading to Rojas getting shot once in the neck. Details of how and why Rojas was shot remain clouded, but Lowney did say that Minero drove Rojas to the hospital, where he was admitted at 8:30 p.m.

“This really tells you why it was charged the way it is,” Lowney said of the suspect driving the victim to the hospital. Lowney said it is unclear if Minero was at the hospital when Rojas died shortly after being checked in.

“Part of the problem is, our witnesses are terrible, so details like how many people were in the apartment at the time is sketchy,” Lowney said.

Lowney said it is unclear if the tenant of the apartment where the shooting occurred, Julie Pena, was home at the time.

Police believe the shooting was not gang-related.

Contact the GPD with any information regarding this incident at 846-0350.

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