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Thursday, 4 September 2008

Roberto Cervantes died at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in a San Francisco Bay Area hospital after he was shot several times in the upper body.

55-year-old man is the latest casualty of gang violence in Salinas and the city's 18th homicide victim this year. His death was the result of one of three shootings in Monterey County in a two-hour period late Tuesday.
Roberto Cervantes died at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in a San Francisco Bay Area hospital after he was shot several times in the upper body. Salinas police said he was wounded about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday outside his house in the 500 block of West Alisal Street. Investigators did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday and few details about the shooting have been released. Officers have said the slaying is being probed as a gang crime. They have not said if Cervantes was the intended target, nor have they elaborated on circumstances surrounding the shooting. Residents in the area, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, told The Herald they saw a car, possibly a late-model Nissan with tinted windows, speeding away moments after gunshots were heard. All but one of Salinas' homicide victims this year have been Latino males, who were shot. The non-shooting victim was a 46-year-old woman who was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend. With four months left, this year is already the deadliest since 2004, when police reported 20 homicides for the entire year. The city has seen scores of other shootings this year. The second shooting Tuesday occurred about an hour and a half after Cervantes was shot, when officers responded to reports of gunfire in a North Salinas neighborhood. A 24-year-old man and a minor were shot several times in the upper body just after 10 p.m. in the 2100 block of Perez Street. The man's wounds were life-threatening and he was flown to a San Francisco Bay Area hospital. The 17-year-old was treated at a local hospital, police said. Officers did not release updated information on the man's condition Wednesday. They said it was unknown if the attack was gang-motivated or connected to Cervantes' shooting. In the past week there have been an additional four suspected gang shootings that injured five people in the city. But gang violence has not been isolated to Salinas. In the third shooting Tuesday, a 25-year-old woman was shot in the face about 10:30 p.m. in Soledad.
Police Chief Richard Cox said more than 20 rounds were fired at the house in the 400 block of San Diego Place during a drive-by shooting. Several people, including children, were in the house. The attack appears to be gang-related, police said.
The injured woman, who was not identified, was taken to a Salinas hospital and is expected to survive, Cox said. Few people have come forward with information about the shooting, and Cox said he worries about by-standers who might get caught in the middle. "There were kids in the house," he said.



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