Esteban Nunez, the son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez who was arrested in the stabbing death of a 22-year-old college student, may have possible gang ties, according to search warrants released Wednesday.
Nunez,19, and three of his friends -- all of whom live in the Sacramento area -- were charged with one count each of murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of vandalism. They face maximum sentences of life in prison if convicted of the murder of Mesa College student Louis Dos Santos and the stabbing of three of his friends.
In an affidavit filed yesterday, San Diego Police Department
investigators said that the four Sacramentans considered
themselves members of "THC" -- the active chemical ingredient in
marijuana -- or "The Hazard Crew."
The crews identifying symbol
depicts a biohazard icon. A photo of Nunez on his MySpace page
depicts a biohazard tattoo along the upper portion of his right arm.
Other members have similar tattoos, according to police. One of the
alleged attackers and THC member Rafael Garcia stated on his MySpace
page blog: "And my boyzzz of course...ain't nobody do it liker us maayn
we the tighest crew (THC) "Me, ditto, zach, Elliott, Daniel, joe,
esteban, sam, will, john, tyler, chris, jett, jesus, Justin, Robert,
Robbie, ryan, jesse, matt, richard, and spencer."
"Based on my
training and experience it appears the males identifying themselves
with the 'THC' crew closely meet the criteria for the 186.22 PC
Participating in a Criminal Gang," SDPD Officer Jana Beard wrote in the warrant, referring to the state penal code. In order to qualify as a gang, the gang must have a
name, turf, be involved in a criminal enterprise and hang out as a gang
on a regular basis.
Nunez is a business student at Sacramento City
College. He graduated from Rio Americano High School, not far away, in
2007, and also attended Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento,
and Damien High School in LaVerne. The others charged in the brutal
stabbings were Ryan Jett, 22; Rafael Garcia, 19; and Leshanor Thomas, 19.
just how big or well known the gang is in Sacramento remains to be
haven't heard of them," said Sacramento Police Department Officer Michelle Lazark.
Sgt. D.T. Martin, a gang unit supervisor with the SPD, said: "They are not a validated gang in
the Sacramento region. I can say that with certainty. I have never
heard of them before."
Martin described THC as a clique or a
crew of guys who "hang out" and give themselves names and "like to do
some stupid things." "If it is criminal it is usually mild in nature,"
Martin said he checked their criminal histories.
Jett, he said, had a previous gun arrest. A couple of the others he
said had minor -- possibly alcohol-related arrests -- but he wouldn't be
"A couple had been arrested before but only one that
would have drawn attention from my unit," he said, referring to Jett.
"Someone who has a weapons arrest -- if my unit ran across this person we
would probably dig in deeper to see if he was a member of a gang."
the incident Martin said: "You mix the man with the alcohol and you get
anger and you felt like you were disrespected and it is not far fetched
to go from one to the another . . . I
don't think anyone in this group saw
it coming. When you have alcohol and knives, and when you get crazy talk
it leads to crazy action . . . Those who aren't involved are usually the
ones who become the victims."
Paul Levikow, communications
director with the County of San Diego District Attorney, told the
L.A. Weekly that he didn't "think [Nunez and his friends] were documented
[gang members] in Sacramento."
"We are not filing gang charges," he added. "We don't have any gang allegations so it was a moot point."
Gang ties or not, the search warrant affidavit paints a scary picture
of events that occurred that October 4 night, when all hell broke loose
on a usually quiet street near the SDSU campus.
One witness told police that the four friends were
partying and drinking beer and rum at her house, and carrying on about
how furious Nunez and his friends were about getting kicked out of a
San Diego State University fraternity party because they weren't Greek -- and how they vowed revenge.
One witness recalled the group talking about fighting the fraternity
brothers that would not let them into the party. One of the males in
the group stated, "Let's show them how we do it in Sac Town."
witness recalled that all four men were carrying knives that night.
They also talked about "going and stealing computers from random people
and wanted to know if [witness] had any suggestions."
followed after they left the apartment, according to the affidavit.
Nunez and his three friends hit another party at the Albertson
Apartments located near the campus. After the party, a fight broke out
between Dos Santos, his friends and the Sacramento crew. Thirty seconds
later, Dos Santos was lying in a bush bleeding to death from a stab
wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead by paramedics in the
driveway of San Diego State University's Peterson Gym. The other male
victims, who were also stabbed, were rushed to a nearby hospital.
and his friends were arraigned this afternoon in San Diego Superior
Court. Fabian Nunez attended the hearing.
In a statement released
Wednesday, he said: "This is a very difficult and
painful experience for every family involved. Maria and I love our
children very much. We are confident our son Esteban will be cleared of
the charges he is facing. We will continue to fully cooperate with all
law enforcement officials and have faith in our system of justice."
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to police reports, Esteban Nunez told his friends that if they were
charged, his father could get them off on a self-defense argument.