Felon convicted of shooting father and son in Santa Ana
A 36-year-old man was convicted Thursday of shooting a father and son during an unprovoked gang challenge in Santa Ana.
John Salgado was convicted of two counts each of attempted murder, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and single counts each of carrying a loaded firearm in public, shooting a vehicle and a prohibited person in possession of ammunition and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, all felonies.
Jurors, who deliberated last Friday and this Thursday morning, also found real sentencing improvements for firearm discharge, attempted premeditated murder and gang activity.
A mistrial was declared earlier this year when laws changed regarding gang crimes, so a new jury had to be sworn in and Salgado was convicted at the retrial.
Salgado is expected to be sentenced on August 19.
Salgado was found guilty of shooting auto body shop owner Jorge Lopez and his then 16-year-old son at around 9:30 p.m. on January 6, 2017, at 1909 W. Myrtle St., Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephen Cornwell said .
The Lopez family had dinner with a friend at this address earlier in the evening before Jorge Lopez went to pick up his son, Harold, who was at his girlfriend’s house, Cornwell said.
Harold Lopez, who had his learner’s license, was driving the family’s Mini-Cooper when they returned to 1909 W. Myrtle St. and double-parked.
Salgado, who was wearing a GPS device because he was on parole, approached them and said, “Where are you from,” a common challenge from gang members, Cornwell said.
“He pulled a gun from his belt and slid down the slide as he headed towards Harold and Jorge,” Cornwell said on the first try.
“Harold immediately put the throttle on,” Cornwell said.
Their attacker fired three bullets, which hit the rear window of the car, the prosecutor said.
Jorge Lopez told police the attacker had a “unique tattoo under his eye,” Cornwell said.
Jorge and Harold Lopez cast Salgado in a series of photos after police added tattoos for all suspects in mug shots, Cornwell said.
The party host also singled out Salgado in a series of photos after seeing him flee the scene, Cornwell said.
GPS device records show Salgado was at the scene of the shooting, Cornwell said.
Salgado was arrested on Jan. 24, 2017, after police attempted to arrest him and he led officers on a short chase, Cornwell said. During the chase, Salgado threw the gun used in the shooting out of the window, the prosecutor added.
Defense attorney Fred Fascenelli accused law enforcement of “confirmation bias” and failing to ask victims what type of gang sign their attacker was using before opening fire.
Harold Lopez told police the shooter had “full hair,” Fascenelli said at the first trial.
“Enough to comb it out,” Fascenelli said. “Mr Salgado doesn’t grow much hair on the top of his head – and the evidence will show he didn’t grow much hair either.
Defense attorney says his client is ‘guilty of having a firearm and being a gang member in possession of a firearm’ but is innocent of all other charges .
Salgado pleaded guilty in January 2007 to robbery and assault with a deadly weapon and admitted an enhanced sentence for gang activity and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, court records show.