Two criminal street gang members were each sentenced Monday to 50 years to life in state prison for the shooting murder of Guy Estrada who was riding his bicycle in Fontana. After being shot, the victim was left to die in the middle of the road.
Aureliano Mendez, 21, and David Avina, 29, both of Fontana, were each found guilty April 2, 2018, of one count of first degree murder and one count of street terrorism. The jury also found true firearm and criminal street gang allegations.
“I am proud of the work our Gang Unit is doing every day to hold these local terrorists responsible for their actions,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “With the help of all our law enforcement partners and the Board of Supervisors, we will continue our fight. We won’t back down.”
Since the Gang Unit’s inception in July 2005, 11,560 cases have been filed; 3 on death row; 7,195 state prison commitments; 53,956 years + 322 life terms in state prison; 3,458 gang enhancements have been found true and 458 were found guilty by jury trial.
The sentencing of Mendez and Avina today raises the number of life terms to 324 life terms.
Statement of Facts
On April 26, 2015, Victim Guy Estrada, 35, was riding his bicycle in the City of Fontana when he was shot and killed. Four days later, Avina led Fontana Police Department officers on a dangerous pursuit from Fontana to San Bernardino, accompanied by his passenger, Mendez, in his Lexus sedan. Avina and Mendez were wanted in connection with a separate murder out of Fontana, believed to be gang-related and involving the Lexus sedan, based on an April 19, 2015 incident.
According to Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Robbins, who prosecuted the case, officers located a SKS rifle in the trunk of Avina’s vehicle. Mendez and Avina were taken into custody on the April 19 case.
“During trial, it was noted that both defendants wanted to shoot the victim, a random man on a bike,” said Deputy District Attorney Robbins.
Mendez indicated that Avina first shot at the victim but missed before they ultimately pursued him in Avina’s Lexus, while the victim “rode for his life” on the bicycle. Mendez also noted that he held the steering wheel so that Avina could shoot and kill the victim.
Deputy District Attorney Robbins added that the defendant Mendez described how he and Avina laughed about the incident, before driving around the block to ensure the victim was dead. The other case for both defendants is still pending.
Other Notable Information Related to Gang Unit
California Witness Relocation and Assistance Program
Last year, as part of the California Witness Relocation and Assistance Program (CalWRAP), our office assisted in the relocation of 24 total witnesses and family members. Eight of those cases were gang-related.
In one notable case, the defendant was living with his father and other family members, including four minor children. The defendant, a gang member, stabbed his elderly father multiple times while the father’s grandson watched. The father died as a result of this attack. Another of the four children saw the defendant after the attack, walking through the residence with blood on him and carrying a bloody knife.
First Quarter Gang Stats
The latest gang statistics for the first quarter of 2018 have been compiled by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. Statistics for the quarter of Jan. 1, 2018, through March 31, 2018, show that 100 cases were filed from all divisions. There were 116 state prison commitments obtained with a total of 1,024 years of state prison and 10 life terms. 71 gang enhancements were found true and 10 were found guilty by jury trial.