SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A family member of one of the victims who died in a late-night mass shooting near San Jose State University on Wednesday told KPIX 5 that her brother-in-law who was killed had no gang affiliation.
Police said two people were killed and four others injured when a gunman opened fire on a crowd gathered next to a sidewalk memorial for a traffic accident victim in a neighborhood near San Jose State late Tuesday night.
Friends and family members of one of the shooting victims gathered at the scene early Wednesday morning. They said the crowd was there last night for a vigil at a makeshift sidewalk memorial for 22-year-old Jose De Jesus Perez Leyva, who died in a crash on Tuesday.
Witnesses said for some reason, a gunman drove up in a white muscle car and opened fire on the crowd.
San Jose police said officers who responded to the 600 block of S. 8th Street late Tuesday night found a total of five gunshot victims. Two of the victims were declared dead at the scene, police said, three others were taken to local hospitals and were expected to survive.
During the investigation, it was discovered that a sixth person also has been shot. That victim suffered a non-life threatening injury and was also being treated at a local hospital.
Investigators said no suspects have been identified or apprehended. The motive and circumstances surrounding the incident also remained under investigation. Police could not say if the shooting was gang-related.
San Jose police remained on the scene taking evidence in the shooting for 17 hours.
The identity of the deceased victims — both adults — will be released by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office after confirming their identity and notifying next of kin. Police did say that five of the victims were males and one was a female.
However, a person has identified one of the victims for KPIX 5. A woman who only gave her name as Angela said the drive-by shooting claimed the life of her brother-in-law, Cristian Gonzalez.
He had just arrived at the memorial to pay respects to Leyva. Gonzalez’s wife Rose Bracamontes, was parking their vehicle with their 10-month-old daughter in the backseat when the gunfire erupted.
“So he was just here to light a candle for him. And within one minute, the shooting happened. And my sister was there, trying to save him, giving CPR. We couldn’t do anything,” said Angela.
On the GoFundMe page for Gonzalez’s funeral expenses set up by Rose Bracamontes, she wrote “Tonight, the love of my life got taken away from us.”
Angela disavowed any connection to gangs.
“We’re not affiliated in any way, shape or form with this lifestyle,” she insisted through tears.
She also had a message for the gunman.
“If you’re still out there, just know my baby niece is not going to have a father,” she said.
Neighbors told KPIX 5 they heard the shots ring out around 10 p.m.
“I was just sitting in my room, working on my laptop,” Kris Grischoot said. “I heard five shots go off and then I heard a bunch of cars (speed away) … I told my wife to turn off the lights and lock the doors.”
Grischoot said his wife had also heard gunfire earlier in the evening.
Neighborhood resident Diana Ponce said when she went out to run an errand around 6:30 p.m., she noticed a crowd of about 80 people gathered. She said her neighbors told her there had been at least one drive-by shooting earlier in the evening.
“I can’t really put feelings into it, all I can say is that it sucks because it’s in our neighborhood,” she said. “This is not the type of community we want to live in. This is not the example we want to set for our kids. What can we really do about it … just deal with it.”
Neighbor Nina Duran said there were two distinct clusters of shots fired.
“Boom, boom, boom. People were crying and screaming,” said Duran.
Nidia Salinas lives across the street and said she heard a rapid succession of shots.
When asked if it was scary, she replied, “Oh yeah. Of course it is. But I mean, what are you gonna do?”
The shooting happened two blocks from the SJSU campus near Delta Gamma Sorority, but police said as far there were no known connections to the university or the campus. Grischoot said the neighborhood has changed since classes were moved to online during the COVID pandemic and students have moved out.
“We usually have so many people around,” he told KPIX 5. “It’s a different vibe [since campus closed]. There’s not as many students, more people looking for trouble.”
The shooting deaths were San Jose’s 27th and 28th homicides of 2020.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Miri #3860 or Detective Cuenca #3915 of the San Jose Police Department Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283.
Betty Yu and Kiet Do contributed to this story.