Following a long police investigation, a South Bay gang member has been charged with killing three people including two men in Chula Vista and National City in 2002 and 2003 respectively and a third victim in Alpine in 2005.
Jose Luis Valdez, 30, appeared Sept. 27 before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Charles Ervin, who set a preliminary hearing for Dec. 17. Two other men, John Reyna, 30, and Rashad Tariq Lansing, 33, are charged with murder in the Alpine slaying.
The first victim was Joseph Anthony Medina, 20, of Chula Vista, who was shot to death on Dec. 11, 2002, in the 1500 block of Industrial Boulevard. He was shot in the chest, said Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon.
The second victim was Francisco Chaires, a young man who was shot on July 6, 2003, on West Eighth Street in National City. Chaires, whose age is unavailable, lived in San Diego.
A National City Police officer heard gunshots and found Chaires in the driver’s seat of his vehicle which had crashed into a gas pump at a service station, according to a sheriff’s department statement. Chaires was shot in the head and died several days later in a hospital.
The third victim, Daniel Rodriguez, 20, lived in South Bay when he was shot in the head on Oct. 13, 2005, in Alpine and left under a bridge. “He was left for dead,” said Grapilon.
A California Highway Patrol officer found Rodriguez lying on the south shoulder of I-8 at 9:30 p.m. and called deputies from the Alpine station to assist. Rodriguez was still alive and was treated by the Alpine Fire Department before being transported by helicopter to a hospital.
Rodriguez died three days later, said Grapilon. The prosecutor said Valdez knew all of the victims.
The case is heard in El Cajon because the last victim was killed in East County, said Grapilon. The arrest warrant declaration that was presented to a judge is 88 pages long.
Grapilon said the investigation by the sheriff’s department, FBI, Chula Vista and National City police departments has taken years. He said if anyone has any additional information on any of the cases, they should call the sheriff’s homicide division.
Valdez, who was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 16, remains in the South Bay Detention Facility on $5 million bail set by Ervin. Reyna and Lansing, who were both arrested Sept. 19, remain in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $1 million bail.
They have all pleaded not guilty and waived rights to a speedy preliminary hearing.