SAN LEANDRO (KRON) — Three reputed gang members, two of them juveniles, have been arrested for an apparently gang-related fatal shooting at a baby celebration ceremony at a San Leandro senior center last month, police said today.
Lt. Robert McManus said investigators believe the shooting of 28-year-old Dariel Arreola of Manteca outside the San Leandro Senior Community Center at 13909 E. 14th St. just after 7:30 p.m. on May 16 stemmed from a longstanding feud between rival factions of the Norteno gang.
He said about 40 to 50 people were attending a First Communion party for a baby whose parents had rented the senior center for the celebration.
Arreola, who police say was a validated Norteno gang member, was shot and killed from behind, according to McManus.
A minivan sped out of the parking lot and crashed into a car at East 14th Street and 139th Avenue and then sheared off a utility pole before coming to rest on the curb.
The minivan occupants ran from the crash scene and weren’t found, McManus said. However, a loaded pistol was found in the van, he said.
In addition, police discovered that the van had been stolen from Union City the previous night, according to McManus.
A police investigation that included forensic evidence and video surveillance determined that the shooting was the result of “ongoing gang warfare” between two rival Norteno street gangs, McManus said.
A SWAT operation on Monday involving more than 125 officers from San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark and Alameda served search warrants at four locations and resulted in the arrest of the three suspects, according to McManus.
Norberto Daniel Villarreal, 25, of Union City, was arrested in the 400 block of South Willard Drive in San Jose. A loaded .40-caliber handgun was found on the floor of Villarreal’s car, McManus said.
A 14-year-old suspect from Union City was arrested on Silva Avenue near Jackson Street in Union City on Monday and a 16-year-old suspect from Union City surrendered to police with his family at Union City police headquarters at 8:30 p.m., McManus said.
San Leandro police will present their report on the shooting to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning for a decision on charges in the case and it’s expected that Villarreal will be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward at 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to McManus.
Investigators also expect that the two juveniles will be charged but it will be up to the district attorney’s office to decide whether to charge them as adults or juveniles, McManus said.
It’s expected that all three suspects will face gang enhancement allegations, he said.
The shooting seemed to be “a complete surprise” to Arreola because he seemed to have no idea that the suspects were approaching him, according to McManus.
Police don’t yet know the specific reason why Arreola was shot but believe that it was part of an ongoing internal dispute within the Norteno gang, he said.
Investigators believe that only one of the three suspects shot Arreola but don’t want to disclose at this time who the shooter was, McManus said.
The shooting was a surprise to San Leandro police because the Norteno gang doesn’t usually operate in the city, he said.
But he added, “When you bring rival gangs together in one location you can expect something bad to happen.”
Bay City News contributed to this report.