UNION CITY, Calif. (KRON) — Authorities announced the arrests of two suspects in connection with the murders of two young boys in Union City.
Jason Cornejo, 18, of Castro Valley and a 17-year-old Hayward boy are suspected of killing two boys in the parking lot of Searles Elementary School on Nov. 23, 2019, police said.
The victims have been identified as 14-year-old Sean Withington and 11-year-old Kevin Hernandez.
Union City Police did not say to what extent the two victims were involved, but they lost their lives after somehow getting caught up in a dispute between two rival street gangs.
Investigators say the boys were parked in the parking lot, sitting in a van when gunmen shot at them.
“At that time, a suspect entered the parking lot, pulled near Sean and Kevin and then opened fire,” Union City Police Chief Jared Rinetti said.
Police say one victim died on the scene and the second died while being taken to a trauma center.
Police released photos of the bullet-riddled van. They found 36 shell casings in the parking lot.
The victims were unarmed, according to officials.
Both suspects have been charged with murder and special circumstances.
“The complaints also alleges a gang enhancement in that theses killings were done with the benefit, direction and association of a criminal street gang,” Alameda County Assistant DA Kevin Dunleavy said.
Charging documents reference social media evidence that shows Cornejo posseessing and purchasing an AK-47, one of the suspected murder weapons.
There is also evidence of Cornejo discussing the murders with his alleged accomplice and offering to sell a 9mm firearm the very next day.
Community outreach helped spark an aggressive response.
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