Police probe suspected gang-related shooting

A 46-year-old man was shot and killed while hanging out in the Aloha Club, near the edge of downtown Tuesday night.

About 8:36 p.m., police received a call from an employee at the club that a man had been shot, Sgt. Jim Gillio said. Police arrived at the bar three minutes later to find the victim dead in the bar, which is at 7287 Monterey St., near its corner with Seventh Street. Police would not confirm that the man was shot in the head at close range.

Police did not have a clear description of the shooter, who fled before police arrived, but they expected to have a sketch of the man by the end of today or Thursday, Gillio said.

“The (46-year-old) was drinking a bottle of water and playing pool five minutes before,” said Steven Hernandez – who is the son of the club’s owner and who was outside the bar during the shooting. “He’s not even a drinker”

The man, whose name Hernandez did not know, had been going to the bar “for a while.”

As for the shooter, “they weren’t drinking here, they’re not customers here,” Hernandez said.

The shooter entered the bar, which had about a “half-dozen people” in it, walked up to the 46-year-old and without a word shot him at close range, Hernandez said. The man then fled out the back of the bar, Gillio said.

It was unclear as of early Wednesday morning motive the shooter had for the killing, though police believe it was not gang-related, Gillio said.

“Somebody had a personal vendetta against this guy,” Hernandez said. “It’s not even bar-related. It could’ve happened at Wal-Mart, it could’ve happened here,” he said, pointing at the concrete outside a juice shop adjacent to the club.

Hernandez’ mother, Doris Ortiz, who owns the club, stopped by the bar to drop off some supplies about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, she said.

“It was quiet last night,” Ortiz said this morning. “It’s a pretty regular clientele.”

The dead man has already been identified, but Gillio did not know whether his family had been notified of his death. The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office will be performing an autopsy this morning.

The area around the club was quiet Wednesday morning, with nearby A1 Cuts, Garcia’s Club and Restaurant, and Baha Burgers closed. Employees and customers at the juice stand and grocery store, both on the same side of the same block, and people waiting at the CalTrain station across Monterey Street had not heard about the shooting.

Lillian Crocker was in her home on Seventh Street next door to Baha Burgers Tuesday night during the shooting, but the elderly woman who enjoys crosswords and has lived here her whole life said she was either watching basketball on television or talking on the phone during the incident.

“Jiminy Cricket … Jiminy Cricket,” she repeated with wide eyes and her hand held over her mouth Wednesday morning when she heard the news. “My gosh, what’s wrong with people these days? My gosh.”

Further downtown, business employees and customers were similarly unaware of the previous night’s events. Some had heard sirens, but did not know any details. Activity continued at its typical moderate pace and Councilman Bob Dillon believed that the incident, provided police do not find that it was gang-related, will not change that.

“These things are going to happen and thankfully it’s seldom enough,” he said.

The shooting death is the first slaying of 2009. Last year, there were three deaths – two by shooting and one by stabbing – and the previous year there was one gruesome stabbing death in the downtown.

“I think it’s too few to call a trend,” Dillon said. “It makes our stats look bad but it’s too few.”

Dillon did not expect any change in police policy following the incident.

“I don’t know how any active policing can stop that kind of thing,” he said.

Staff writers Sara Suddes and Chris Bone contributed reporting to this story.

Previous articleTea Party to protest taxes; peace group to oppose war
Next articleSee photos from Hollister’s Tea Party
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here