FAIRFIELD — The prosecution in the case against defendant Enrique Tabares contends that the Sept. 2 shooting of a Fairfield man on East Pacific Avenue was a gang-related crime, with an expert on local gangs saying that Tabares was an admitted member of the Sureños street gang.
Tabares’ defense attorney used the Monday preliminary hearing to elicit testimony that two of the three young men present at the shooting could not identify Tabares as the person who opened fire on the trio, hitting victim Luis Mejia in the stomach, and that much of the witness information given to the police was contradictory.
Tabares is accused attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly opened fire at Mejia, Jesus Galvan and Jose Guevara from a vehicle while the three young men walked along East Pacific Avenue.
Only Mejia testified specifically that it was Tabares who fired on them, allegedly first firing one shot into the air and then three more at the three men.
Defense attorney Thomas Maas pressed Mejia on Tabares’ description, particularly on the length of Tabares’ hair. The three witnesses said the gunman wore long hair on the day of the shooting. Tabares has a short hair now. Maas also said that on the day of the shooting, Mejia told police he did not know who shot him.
Both Galvan and Guevara testified that the gunman had long hair. Galvan said that it was hard to see the gunman’s face because he was shaking his head and his hair was falling across his face at the time.
Fairfield police officer Roy Stockton, who interviewed the witnesses, was asked about the discrepancies in the description of the gunman. Stockton said that Tabares told him that he had recently cut his hair, but could not say specifically when his hair was cut. Maas showed video of police questioning Tabares to show that Tabares said he cut his hair at the time when his younger brother started school.
Detective Jose Villanueva took the stand to describe the situation with Norteño and Sureño street gangs in Fairfield, saying a shooting such as the one that happened Sept. 2, which happened near a Norteño area, was done to intimidate people, sow fear and give the gunman respect within the gang.
Testimony from both the witnesses and police indicated that at least some of the three young men were wearing St. Louis Cardinals baseball caps, which include the color red, a color claimed by the Norteños.
“Gang cases are the most difficult because people are scared,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva testified that he had several previous contacts with Tabares, who he said admitted several times that he was a Sureño gang member and was an enemy of the Norteños.
Tabares’ preliminary hearing is slated to continue Tuesday in Superior Court Judge Peter Foor’s courtroom.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.