Tag Archive for: sentence

Man Sentenced for Convention Center Shootout

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that defendant Daniel Quiroz, 31, who was convicted by a jury last month of attempted murder and other charges, has been sentenced to 45 years-to-life in prison. Quiroz engaged in a shootout with a Harbor Police officer outside the San Diego Convention Center in March 2021, shortly after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

Quiroz was charged with attempting to kill a San Diego Harbor Police Officer and assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a civilian on March 1, 2021 near Fifth Avenue and Harbor Drive.

“This defendant had no regard for life when he recklessly engaged in a shootout on a downtown street,” DA Stephan said. “Traffic stops are some of the most dangerous situations for peace officers as this case clearly demonstrates, and the guilty jury verdict along with today’s prison sentence brings justice to the police officer and civilian victim in this case.”

 

The civilian victim was struck by a stray bullet during the shootout but was unharmed because the bullet was likely a ricochet that also deflected off of his eyeglasses case which he had in his back pocket. In addition to the attempted murder charge, Quiroz was convicted of three counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Washington prosecuted this case.

Murderer Sentenced for 2015 Killing

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that defendant Roger Hernandez, 34, who was convicted in April of murder, has been sentenced to 67years-to-life in prison for killing 18-year-old Juan Muñoz, Jr. in 2015. Munoz was murdered as he was returning from buying soft drinks and snacks when he crossed paths with gang members.

In October 2015, Roger Hernandez and Luis Karam chased down Muñoz, thinking he was a rival gang member. When the teen stopped at a stop sign on the same block where his friends were fixing a car, Karam pulled in front of his car preventing Muñoz from being able to drive away. Hernandez got out of the car and issued a gang challenge. Before Muñoz could answer, Hernandez repeatedly fired into the car with a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun. Hernandez shot Muñoz multiple times through the arm, shoulder, and neck, killing him.

In 2018, the case had gone cold when the DA’s Office revisited the case. Working with National City Police, prosecutors and DA investigators they were able to narrow in on two suspects and develop additional evidence.

Hernandez was arrested for the murder in November 2018. One week later, U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force attempted to arrest co-defendant Karam, but he fled. When caught, he attempted to take his own life, but survived and was ultimately taken into custody. Karam was sentenced to 20 years in state prison in July after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, admitting to an allegation that the killing was done for the benefit of a criminal street gang and that a deadly weapon was used during the offense.

“This innocent young victim was hunted by violent gang members and was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time,” DA Stephan said. “A measure of justice has finally been delivered to the family of Juan Muñoz, Jr. We will continue to fight to keep every neighborhood safe from crime and address gang violence through prosecution and prevention.”

This latest gang-related sentencing comes as law enforcement officials are grappling with an increase in gang-related shootings and the ongoing proliferation of firearms – in particular, so-called untraceable “ghost guns.” DA Gang prosecutions increased from 368 in 2020 to 465 in 2021.

Juan Muñoz’ parents, Elizabeth and Juan Sr., have channeled their grief into activism over the years, including focusing on addressing mental health issues and trauma resulting from violence.

Habitual Offender Who Took Advantage of Deficiencies in the Law Sentenced

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that 32-year-old defendant Craig Blas, a repeat criminal offender, has been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of felony counts including possession of fentanyl for sale with an allegation of being personally armed with a firearm; possession of methamphetamine for sale with an allegation of being personally armed with a firearm; possession of a firearm by possessor of controlled substance; possession of a firearm by a felon; person prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition and resisting an officer.

In the period of two years, Blas has been arrested and released 12 times for a range of criminal conduct, including possession with intent to sell fentanyl, possession of a firearm by a felon and evading an officer with reckless driving.

Recent changes in the law, including Propositions 47 and 57, which reduced certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and awarded increased custody credits and/or early release for non-violent crimes, has resulted in some defendants serving less time in custody than they would have otherwise served. In addition, the emergency bail schedule instituted during the COVID-19 state-declared emergency, which was designed to minimize the number of people in custody, had the similar result of allowing some offenders to remain out of custody while their cases awaited final disposition. The emergency bail schedule is no longer in effect thus allowing habitual offenders like Blas to remain in custody.

“The time has run out on this habitual criminal who took advantage of weakened laws and emergency orders to continue to commit crimes and harm his community,” DA Stephan said. “That is why he stands convicted of every charge and the Judge is appropriately sentencing him to prison. We need to continue to fight against the loopholes and deficiencies in the law that are being used by repeat offenders to their own advantage.”

On May 7, Escondido Police officers were patrolling a high crime area when they saw Craig Blas and recognized him as having an active warrant. The defendant attempted to run from officers, but they were able to apprehend him as he fled. Officers found a 9 mm magazine sticking out of his back pocket, three fentanyl pills, a pistol red dot optic aiming device and $736 cash. Officers saw the defendant throw an item in the driver’s seat of the car with which they had seen him walking around. Upon looking, they discovered on the driver seat a fanny pack containing a loaded ghost handgun, 36 grams of methamphetamine and 235 M30 fentanyl pills. A loaded 9mm magazine with eight 9 mm rounds were on the floorboard next to the gun. In the trunk were drug paraphernalia and another 3.6 grams of fentanyl.